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Field To Closet™ Driving Demand For High-Quality, U.S. Upland Cotton

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My Strong Cotton | SPECIAL REPORT

Deltapine®, through a partnership with Jernigan Global, has created an initiative called Field to Closet to help create awareness and drive demand for premium, U.S.-grown upland cotton fibers in the end-user market. Following is Cotton Farming editor Carroll Smith’s special report on this effort.

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Ed Jernigan, CEO of Jernigan Global

Ed Jernigan, CEO
of Jernigan Global

For years, Deltapine has been working with local breeding teams and farmers to boost yield and fiber quality potential in its variety lineup. Today, the brand is starting to identify varieties that have consistently demonstrated the best yield and fiber quality potential as Deltapine Select™ varieties. The first varieties to receive such distinction are DP 1646 B2XF, DP 1820 B3XF and DP 1845 B3XF, chosen for their high yield potential and fiber grades on par with Australian and San Joaquin Valley, California, Acala varieties.

Bridging The Gap

Working with Jernigan Global — a Nashville-based consultancy for the cotton supply chain and textile industry — Deltapine has created the Field to Closet initiative to help create awareness among producers, ginners, millers, and retailers of the advancements that have been made in U.S. upland cotton, specifically Deltapine Select varieties. Field to Closet also aims to drive demand for premium U.S. upland cotton fibers in the end-user market.

Ed Jernigan, CEO of Jernigan Global, has been in the cotton business more than 30 years. His expertise as a textile supply chain manager is based on long-time relationships with brands and retailers around the world.

“Historically, there has been a gap between the cotton industry and the brands and retailers, who typically encounter cotton only at the fabric level,” Jernigan says. “We are working to bridge that gap.”

Everyone Benefits

The strategy, he says, is to partner with different mills around the world to get cotton from the Deltapine Select variety group made into fabric. Once that is accomplished, the fabric can be introduced to brands and retailers.

field to closet logo“This will help them get a feel for our cotton and encourage use of more high-quality U.S. cotton in their program instead of them choosing cheap manmade fibers, such as polyester,” Jernigan says. “We can show the brands and retailers how they can improve the quality of their end product by doing so.

“Another component of Field to Closet is to bring farmers into the equation by introducing them to the brand or retailer who would like to have the linkage all the way back to where the cotton came from. The farmer who has cotton from a Deltapine Select variety that produces 38 staple and has higher strength, for example, also will have the potential to get a premium price for it.”

The second “premium” opportunity comes from bringing together brands and retailers with the farmers who produce Deltapine Select cottons. The desired result is for U.S. cotton to get a larger slice of the supply chain, Jernigan says.

The Field to Closet initiative has moved from a virtual concept into the realm of reality as the first t-shirts made from DP 1646 B2XF emerged in 2018. The cotton was spun into a higher-quality yarn, which produced a higher-quality t-shirt for an attractive price from a consumer’s standpoint.

When asked how he envisions the Field to Closet initiative progressing in the long-term, Jernigan says, “Farmers can plant Deltapine Select varieties and then do all they can within their growing techniques to produce the highest quality cotton imaginable.

“We believe we will have some brands and retailers using high-quality textiles made from Deltapine Select varieties and also putting the Field to Closet name on their products. The Field to Closet name will indicate those products can be traced back to the farmer who grew the cotton. In the long-term, we want brands, retailers and consumers to know just how much care that farmer put into producing a high-quality product.”