Monday, April 15, 2024

Data That Delivers

The National Cotton Council strongly encourages its cotton producer members to enroll their 2022 cotton crop in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol before the March 31, 2023, deadline.

Why is Trust Protocol enrollment important?

gary adams, ncc
Gary Adams, NCC

Launched in 2020, the Trust Protocol was designed to set a new standard in making U.S. cotton more sustainably grown. However, producers enrolled in the Trust Protocol can realize another benefit — they are eligible to participate in the Climate Smart Cotton Program, which will provide technical and financial assistance to 1,650 U.S. cotton producers with acres available for Climate Smart practice changes. Another participation benefit is that producers also receive personalized data that can be used to help improve their sustainability efforts and their yields, as well as improve communication with their end customer. That’s important because sustainably grown cotton that is backed by verified data and measurable outcomes is highly sought after by brands and retailers.

While producer participation in the Trust Protocol has doubled since the program’s pilot year, we need more cotton producers to enroll and complete their 2022 crop data entry before the March 31, 2023, deadline. That way more access to more sustainably grown cotton will be provided to brands and retailers along with science based, data-led assurances consumers can have confidence in — which has been somewhat lacking in the industry to date.

Is manufacturer/retailer/brand enrollment strong?

The Trust Protocol has welcomed more than 1,100 brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer members, including Levi Strauss & Company, Old Navy, Gap, J. Crew and the most recent to join, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). As with the others, we were very pleased to see AEO join as it is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend cotton clothing, accessories and personal care products. Producers’ Trust Protocol membership will support AEO and the growing number of other brand/retailer participants in continued efforts at providing greater transparency. AEO, for example, has set specific goals to achieve carbon neutrality and significantly reduce water use, among other sustainability initiatives.

Is Trust Protocol data confidential?

Producers’ entered data is secure and remains confidential, used only in aggregate form. Crop consultants also can be authorized to enter information on a producer’s behalf. Additionally, the John Deere Operations Center can pre-populate up to 40% of the data needed to complete the Fieldprint analysis for those who utilize the platform. Producers can enroll and complete their data entry at https://trustuscotton.org/. Also, 2023 crop enrollment will open the second week of April, and producers should not hesitate to participate. For help enrolling, contact info@trustuscotton.org.

Overall, greater producer participation in the Trust Protocol will increase long-term demand for U.S. cotton. That strategic objective already is being reached as the NCC’s export promotions arm, Cotton Council International, is making U.S. cotton’s global customers very aware of efforts to document U.S. cotton producers’ sustainable strides. For example, participants in CCI’s 40-plus events in 16 of the largest cotton importing countries during 2022 indicated they expect to purchase $4.9 billion worth of U.S. cotton. Bottom line – producers’ Trust Protocol participation is contributing to serious momentum in the world marketplace.


Gary Adams is president/CEO of the National Cotton Council of America.

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