June 22 field day talks cotton sustainability on the farm and in the stores

Judd Hill event focuses on production tactics and values beyond the field.

June 13, 2022

⋅ By Mary Hightower ⋅

A June 22 field day at the Judd Hill Foundation Farm near Trumann, will feature discussions on why sustainability is important not only to cotton farmers, but also to the brands that use American-grown cotton and their consumers.

The Cotton Sustainability Field Day will begin with registration at 8 a.m. that Wednesday. The farm is located on Arkansas Highway 214, five miles south of Trumann in Poinsett County.

An upcoming Cotton Field Day will feature not only production practices, but also information about sustainability and consumers. In this file photo Tina Gray Teague, Division entomologist, talks about cotton sustainability through the use of recommended tillage, nitrogen fertilization, irrigation and COTMAN.

Field tours highlighting soil and water conservation research and field-scale soil health demonstrations will begin at 9 a.m. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP for this event. For more information, contact Bill Robertson, extension cotton agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, at (501) 425-0549 or by email at brobertson@uada.edu.

The Global Sustainability Study 2021, conducted by global strategy and pricing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners, found significant global paradigm shifts in how consumers view sustainability and the associated generational differences in willingness to pay for sustainable products and services.

Globally, 85 percent of people indicate that they have shifted their purchase behavior towards being more sustainable in the past five years, the study found.

“Sustainability encompasses so much. It’s soil and water conservation, but it also means finding ways to keep farmers and those that use their products in business,” Robertson said. “That’s what we’ll be demonstrating and discussing during this field day.

“Farmers, crop consultants and others interested in learning more about sustainably produced cotton are encouraged to attend,” he said.

The agenda includes:

  • Marty White and Jesse Flye, producers at Judd Hill, will discuss their experiences with conventional and conservation systems including cover crops.
  • Adam Chappell, producer and president of Arkansas Soil Health Alliance, will discuss regenerative practices.
  • Updates from the Soil Health Institute and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will focus on the importance of practices to improve soil health, and how to document our practices to improve our transparency and build consumer confidence.
  • Hank Reichle, president and chief executive officer of Staplcotn, will discuss what manufacturing brands desire from farmers to better meet the needs of consumers.
  • The Better Cotton Initiative and BASF will discuss the Better Cotton and e3 Sustainable Cotton programs.

Training and enrollment opportunities for the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will be offered to farmers and consultants on laptops that will be setup in the air-conditioned office after lunch. Sponsors for this event include Judd Hill Foundation, Inc.; Cotton Incorporated; Soil Health Institute and Better Cotton.

Arkansas farmers are expected to grow about 520,000 acres of cotton this year, up 8% from the previous year.

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Mary Hightower is chief communications officer at U of A System Division of Agriculture and may be reached at mhightower@uada.edu.

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