Iconic American denim brand Wrangler will team with the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC), a research organization with Texas Tech University, to promote techniques and technologies for less water waste among cotton growers.
The agreement between Wrangler and TAWC focuses on sharing best practices for reducing water waste and producing healthy soils, which contributes to water retention, higher yields, fewer agricultural inputs and other long-term environmental and social benefits.
Both organizations have long-term focuses on water conservation, and have made steps toward achieving their goals. Last year, Wrangler passed a milestone of more than 3 billion liters of water saved since 2007, and announced a goal to reduce water usage at its facilities by 20 percent by the year 2020. And when it began operations in 2005, TAWC’s focus included creating technology solutions to accurately measure and track water application. Since then it has expanded its work to include test sites throughout nine cotton-growing counties in Texas.
Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU), TAWC will be advising Wrangler’s U.S. sustainable cotton program, and Wrangler will in turn create awareness about all the positive results achieved by TAWC’s on-farm research.
TAWC is working to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest subterranean aquifer in the U.S. The Ogallala Aquifer lies beneath one of the most important agricultural regions in the U.S., stretching from the Texas panhandle in the south to the northern boundary of Nebraska. Weather concerns and increasing water demands have depleted the aquifer in recent years, threatening crops and population centers, as was witnesses during the 2011-2012 drought in the U.S.
“Our mission is to conserve water for future generations by identifying agricultural practices and technologies that reduce the depletion of ground water while maintaining or improving agricultural production and economic opportunities,” said TAWC Project Director Rick Kellison. “Through a focus on soil health, Wrangler’s U.S. cotton program is aligned with our mission, and working with the well-known brand will add credibility and awareness to our work.”
Cotton is the largest agricultural crop in Texas. Approximately 25 percent of the annual U.S. cotton crop is produced in the region, making it the country’s leading cotton state. And cotton is studied intensively at Texas Tech research labs, where the crop is even represented in the university seal.
About 50 percent of the cotton used to make Wrangler products is grown in the U.S. The Greensboro, N.C.–based company is committed to working with domestic growers to make sure the industry remains profitable, while improving upon its strength and reducing its environmental impact. The company has formed a coalition of industry, academic and nonprofit partners, TAWC among them, to focus on soil health practices as the key to producing more sustainable cotton domestically.
“Healthy soil is a common denominator for farmer profitability and sustainable cotton production,” said Roian Atwood, Wrangler’s sustainability director. “However, soil types are different from farm to farm. The expertise and technical assistance TAWC provides for comparing cropping and livestock systems is invaluable for Texas growers, and we’re glad to be working with them.”
The partnership also includes Wrangler participating in TAWC’s Water College, an educational event for Texas growers, scheduled for January 24, 2018 at the Lubbock Civic Center in Lubbock, Texas.