Truterra, the sustainability business at Land O’Lakes Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives, announced a new collaboration with Cotton Incorporated to advance the adoption of sustainable farming practices across 50,000 acres of cotton in the Mid-South sourcing region.
The new initiative will tap the Truterra Stewardship platform and Truterra retailer member GreenPoint Ag to help connect consumer brands to verified sources of more sustainable cotton in their supply chains. Truterra and GreenPoint Ag will work with participating cotton growers to establish an environmental sustainability baseline for each field, identify year-over-year improvement opportunities and model the impact of various conservation practices on sustainability and profitability.
These efforts are aimed at helping participating growers measure and improve water quality, land use, soil conservation, soil carbon, irrigation water use efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and energy use on their cotton fields.
As part of this drive to deepen sustainability practices among U.S. growers, Truterra and GreenPoint Ag will also help participating growers enroll in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. The Trust Protocol is a system that sets a new standard in more sustainably grown cotton, giving brands and retailers important assurances they need to source U.S. cotton.
“There are a growing number of consumer brands…demanding more transparency about the practices used to grow products,” Jason Weller, vice president of Truterra, said. “At Truterra, we are committed to working with growers across the country to unlock the enormous untapped value and potential in the market for sustainability. This new collaboration expands our footprint into a new crop, cotton, and offers cotton growers a comprehensive view of all of the factors impacting the profitability, performance and sustainability of their farm business to enable them to not only meet consumer demand, but to make even smarter business decisions.”
Jesse Daystar, chief sustainability officer at Cotton Inc., a not-for-profit research and marketing company representing Upland cotton, said the organization has set “ambitious, science-based sustainability targets for U.S. cotton production over the next decade” and the collaboration with Truterra and GreenPoint Ag will “help us engage more growers in the effort.”
“New enrollment in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol also will help meet the growing demand from consumer brands to source sustainably grown cotton for their products,” Daystar added.
Jeff Blair, CEO of GreenPoint Ag, said through its long-standing partnership with Truterra, the American-owned, agricultural input supplier works with farmers to safeguard natural resources and help them build resilient farm businesses.
“It is exciting to be able to offer the precision data and analysis provided by Truterra to our cotton growers for the first time, and to position them as a dependable supply source for some of the country’s largest buyers of cotton,” Blair said.
Initially, the program will work with growers to analyze the 2020 agronomic data and generate sustainability insights that can be incorporated into the growers’ production decisions throughout the early spring months in advance of the 2021 harvest season. Truterra and Cotton Inc. will look to expand the project to include additional acres in 2021.