Smart Start

The National Cotton Council is urging its producer members to enroll their 2023 cotton crop in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol during the signup window that ends on September 1, 2023.

How beneficial is enrolling during this revamped signup window?

gary adams, ncc
Gary Adams, NCC

As enrollment now will be open for four months (May-August) this season, producers are encouraged to begin their data entry as soon as possible. The enrollment period was updated to enable producers’ participation in the Climate Smart Cotton Program. That USDA pilot initiative is providing technical/financial assistance to up to 1,650 U.S. cotton producers with acres available for climate smart practice changes. Those interested in participating should watch for Trust Protocol communications.

Cotton producers are encouraged to enroll this season’s crop into the Trust Protocol well ahead of the September 1, 2023 deadline.

Producers enrolling their cotton crop during this updated timeframe can realize other benefits. They not only gain insights that can help them improve their overall sustainability efforts while using best management practices but be able to complete data entry prior to harvest. Specifically, this enrollment timeframe allows a Trust Protocol member’s cotton bales to be verified as Trust Protocol on their initial electronic warehouse receipt right after ginning – enabling the cotton to be visible sooner for brands and retailers looking to source Trust Protocol fiber.

This season’s actual enrollment process will remain the same. To complete enrollment and data entry for the 2023 crop year ahead of the September 1 deadline, producers can visit For enrollment assistance, contact All data entered in the Trust Protocol is secure and confidential, only being used in aggregate form. Crop consultants may be authorized to enter information on the producer’s behalf. 

In 2024, the Trust Protocol will further refine the producer enrollment window to begin this coming January and end prior to planting on May 1.

Why is Trust Protocol producer participation important?

This voluntary, science-based sustainability program is setting a new standard for delivering value to all stakeholders across the cotton supply chain from farms to finished products. It is the only system that provides quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurement and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.

The program is overseen by a Board representing U.S. cotton producers/other industry segments as well as brands/retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts.

It is very encouraging that the Trust Protocol now has welcomed more than 700 producers and more than 1,200 brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer members, including Levi Strauss & Co., Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., and J.Crew.

Gary Adams serves as president/chief executive officer of the National Cotton Council of America and as president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

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