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US cotton industry working to conserve environment
21
Sep '17
With the goal of helping its members meet their current needs while conserving the environment, the US cotton industry is setting goals aimed to build upon the strong environmental gains already achieved over the past 30 years. It aims to reduce by 13 per cent the amount of land needed to produce a pound of cotton fibre and reducing soil loss by 50 per cent.

“Our industry wants to be the supplier of choice for those who are committed to only buying cotton that is produced with sustainable and responsible environmental, safety and labor practices,” said National Cotton Council chairman Ronnie Lee, a Georgia cotton producer. “That is the objective that was set by the Council’s Cotton USA Sustainability Task Force.”

Task Force chairman Ted Schneider, a Louisiana cotton producer, said the actual sustainability resolution that the Council adopted earlier this year called for the creation of the sustainability task force and specified that it collaborate with US cotton industry associations “on developing industrywide goals for measurable continual improvements in environmental stewardship, farm productivity, and resource efficiency such as land, water, air, input, and energy use.”

Schneider said that among the specific goals being pursued by 2025 are: 1) reducing by 13 per cent the amount of land needed to produce a pound of cotton fibre; 2) reducing soil loss by 50 per cent, in balance with new soil formation; 3) increasing water use efficiency (more fibre per gallon) by 18 per cent; 4) reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 39 per cent; 5) increasing soil carbon in fields by 30 per cent; and 6) reducing energy to produce seed cotton and ginned lint by 15 per cent.

“US cotton growers have achieved significant environmental gains over the past three decades,” explains Schneider. “The goals are meant to continue that trend and to reinvigorate efforts through the setting of realistic targeted reductions.”

Dahlen Hancock, chairman of Cotton Incorporated whose scientists have worked diligently to develop and refine US cotton’s sustainability initiative, said, “We believe the United States may be the only country in the world with these kind of specific, measurable, quantified goals.”

The Texas cotton producer said the US cotton industry is using science-based metrics and benchmarks developed by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture to assess environmental impacts and identify opportunities for improvement. Field to Market works across the entire agricultural supply chain to define, measure and advance the sustainability of US crop production.

Hancock, who is the former chairman of the Council’s export promotions arm, Cotton Council International (CCI), said CCI looks forward to “sharing with US cotton’s global customers the strides our industry will continue to make in providing the world with responsibly produced, quality fibre.”

As the unifying force of the US cotton industry, the Memphis-based National Cotton Council of America has a mission of ensuring the ability of the US cotton industry’s seven segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and US-manufactured product markets at home and abroad. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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