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MEMPHIS – The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has announced significant improvements among its cotton growing members across key metrics relating to water, energy use and emissions. Based on a 2015 baseline, farm-level data presented by the Trust Protocol this week shows a 10 per cent increase in land use efficiency, a 14 per cent increase in water use efficiency, a 27 per cent reduction in energy use, a 21 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 79 per cent reduction in soil loss.

The programme has tripled its grower membership in just three years, whose 1.7m acres now represent almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the entire cotton-growing area of the United States. The latest annual report from the Trust Protocol also includes sections on regenerative agriculture, supply chain transparency and legislation.

Enrolled grower numbers in the Trust Protocol have tripled compared to its 2020 launch, with 975 growers enrolling almost a quarter of the entire U.S. cotton acreage. All 17 cotton-growing states are now represented.

The Trust Protocol’s Annual Report also includes key metrics on progress in regenerative agriculture using the Field to Market methodology. The regenerative practices reported include cover cropping; minimal or no-tillage methods; promoting biodiversity; rotational farming; precision agriculture techniques; Integrated Pest Management, and using inputs tailored to specific landscape conditions.

The tripling of enrolled growers brings significant implications for data interpretation. More participating growers contribute to a larger data set which impacts the statistical significance of the findings. The diversity of practices with a large and broader group of growers also means there is a greater representation of farming practices, regions, conditions, which in turn helps improve data interpretation and allows for benchmarking.

Commenting on the results, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol’s executive director Daren Abney said: “I’m greatly encouraged by the continued progress, and not least by the exponential growth in enrolled planted cotton acres. Accurate data collection sets the stage for appropriate decisions for brands and retailers, where they can claim how much water has been saved or how many greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced. Today’s data demonstrates how Protocol growers continue to improve in their environmental performance, year on year. We do not have a final destination: our journey is one of continuous improvement in the pursuit of excellence.”

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