Update from Cotton Incorporated/Quail Forever Partnership

Cotton in Georgia is looking relatively good across the regions and holds great potential.  As you are in the field preparing to harvest, keep an eye out for chronically problematic areas of the field for production.  An average to above average year is the best time to look for poor producing areas. Using your crop budgets and average yields broken down per acre, consider these poor areas being removed and how that may improve your field average yields, APH overtime, improved efficiency and sustainability, and less wear and tear and time on equipment from low-to-no yield places.  Profit per acre is better than yield per acre.

To help you harness sustainability insights and unleash opportunities for your farm, we have developed a guide to better understand how your management practices intersect with sustainability metrics and potential factors that can influence improved outcomes through working with Quail Forever Precision Ag decisions in the areas of: •  Biodiversity •  Energy Use Efficiency •  Greenhouse Gas Emissions •  Irrigation Water Use Efficiency •  Land Use Efficiency •  Soil Carbon •  Soil Conservation •  Water Quality.

If you would like help taking a look at your crop health & profitability or consider biodiversity with quail habitat, you or your trusted crop advisor can give Quail Forever Precision Ag and Conservation Specialist a call as complements of Cotton Incorporated and the American Society of Agronomy.

Chaz Holt , CCAPrecision Ag and Conservation Specialist
Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever Inc. |  Georgia
m. 406-425-3039 |  cholt@quailforever.org
Twitter @agrarian_life
Instagram #agrarianlife
https://quailforever.org/Conservation/Precision-Agriculture.aspx

INDUSTRY COALITION RELEASES STATEMENT ON PPE POLICY

WASHINGTON—An industry coalition representing the full spectrum of domestic personal protective equipment (PPE) production released a statement today outlining policy principles and objectives needed for reshoring and safeguarding domestic PPE manufacturing.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed severe shortages in our nation’s PPE supply and an overreliance on foreign sourced products, underscores how important it is for the U.S. government to incentivize, support and maintain domestic manufacturing capacity for PPE.

Our association members, encompassing every segment of the U.S. textile, apparel and PPE supply chain, as well as unions representing workers, acted swiftly to convert manufacturing facilities and build supply chains virtually overnight to produce desperately needed PPE.

“We are united in our support of important principles that must be adopted in order to address our current public health needs and guarantee our nation is better prepared to respond to future emergencies,” the 21 associations said in the joint statement.

The associations are calling on Congress and the Trump administration to adopt principles outlined in the statement through legislation, executive order and other appropriate means.

See the full joint statement and principles here.

The statement was signed by the following organizations. Please see relevant contacts where provided:

  • AFL-CIO
  • Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • American Iron and Steel Institute
  • American Sheep Institute
  • Coalition for a Prosperous America
  • Georgia Association of Manufacturers
  • Hand Tools Institute
  • INDA: Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
  • Narrow Fabrics Institute
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Council of Textile Organizations
  • Parachute Industry Association
  • Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network
  • SEAMS: Association of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry
  • SEIU
  • South Carolina Textile Council
  • U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute
  • United States Footwear Manufacturers Association
  • United Steelworkers
  • Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition
  • Workers United/SEIU

Snider Joins Georgia Cotton Commisison

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The Georgia Cotton Commission is pleased to announce that Caroline Snider will join the commission staff as the Education and Outreach Specialist. Snider comes from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, where she served as the Graduate Assistant for the Director of Athletics while earning her M.Ed. in Instructional Technology. In that role, she planned student-athlete, staff and athletic events. She also created content for the department and served as a staff leader for different student-athlete programs.

 

The Tennille, Georgia native received her Bachelor of Art degree in Mass Communication from GC&SU, where she played on the softball team for four years. During her time, she served as the Marketing Intern for Morgan Medical Center

USCTP Survey: More than half of sustainability leaders believe that consumer demand for environmental action has grown during COVID-19, and many think they may lose customers if they don’t meet commitments

 MEMPHIS, TENN. – (July 16, 2020) – A recent global survey shows 54 percent of sustainability leaders at apparel and textile brands say they’ve seen their customers’ demands for environmentally sustainable practices and products increase since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 59 percent said they believe customers will still continue to prioritize price when making purchases.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol conducted this survey to find how sustainability programs at brands and retailers had changed in a post-COVID world.

The survey found that 43% of respondents believe COVID-19 has had a positive impact on investments in sustainability efforts during this period, while 40% believe it has had a negative impact. Likewise, they believe their customers are facing the same struggle between their pocketbooks and the environmental concerns — when asked to rank how they believe customers will prioritize their purchases in the next year, respondents ranked the top two priorities as “Getting the best possible deal” and “Brand or retailer alignment with their personal values.”

“It’s clear that COVID-19 has caused economic challenges up and down the supply chain, but this survey shows that companies and their customers remain focused on sustainability,” said Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

“As we enter recovery in many countries, systems like the Trust Protocol will be more important than ever so brands can have the data they need to show they are meeting their science-based targets,” said Dr. Adams.

Vocal customer demand for sustainability

Fifty-four percent of respondents said that their customers’ demands for more environmentally sustainable practices and products has “significantly” or “somewhat” increased since the beginning of the pandemic, and 42% said that those customers are also more vocal in those demands. Almost half of all respondents seemed to believe that their customers are more likely to hold them accountable at the register for those actions – almost half (48%) said they believed customers would switch brands if their company didn’t meet its sustainability commitments.

Continued focus on sustainability in the supply chain

While some (9%) report pausing most or all sustainability initiatives due to COVID-19, most companies continue to focus their sustainability efforts on manufacturing (25%), sourcing of raw materials (25%) or traceability (11%).

European brands continue to invest in sustainability efforts, despite COVID-19.

COVID-19’s impact on companies’ investments in sustainability initiatives differs drastically by market – North American respondents are least likely to invest, where only 26% of respondents believe COVID-19 has had a positive impact on sustainability investments at their company. While in Europe, six out of 10 (63%) respondents said the pandemic has had a positive impact on their company’s sustainability efforts, and in Asia, 46% of respondents said they believe there have been increases in proactive investments in sustainability initiatives. With Asian European sustainability initiatives benefiting from the impacts of COVID-19, market-specific conditions may play a larger role in the future of sustainability than global factors.

​Many companies are looking for ways to buoy their sustainability programs through the pandemic – focused on holding the course with increased help of outside partnerships (62%) until they can afford to reinvest in big new innovations. Meanwhile, they are increasingly focused on improving the transparency in environmental reporting (59%); improving sustainability in sourcing (63%); and aligning with external sustainability standards or protocols for their existing programs (59%).

Methodology

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol sponsored the online survey, issued from June 21-July 5, 2020, among 138 senior executives involved in or fully in charge of sustainability decision-making at their company from eight global markets.​

Respondents were recruited using a combination of Sourcing Journal and an industry-leading panel partner.​

Respondents from North America, Europe and Asia are strongly represented in this research. Results reflect experiences across a diverse range of textile-based industries: Home goods, footwear, accessories, fabrics and apparel.

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In a period of ever-greater supply chain scrutiny and a growing demand for transparency, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will set a standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of responsibly-grown cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics.

About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies U.S. cotton’s progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Choosing Trust Protocol cotton will give brands and retailers the critical assurances they need that the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk. Brands and retailers will gain access to U.S. cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is overseen by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors comprised of representatives from brands and retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts as well as the cotton-growing industry, including growers, ginners, merchants, wholesalers and cooperatives, mills and cottonseed handlers.

Media Contact: Avra Lorrimer, Avra.Lorrimer@hkstrategies.com; +1 347-685-5745

Visit us online at: TrustUSCotton.org

Follow us at:
https://twitter.com/trustuscotton
https://www.facebook.com/trustuscotton/
https://www.instagram.com/trustuscotton/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/responsibleuscotton/

With U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, Brands and Retailers Can Now Source U.S. Cotton with More Confidence

MEMPHIS, TENN. – (July 15, 2020) – Starting today, brands and retailers can join the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, a new system for responsibly grown cotton that will provide annual data for six areas of sustainability in line with the U.N. Sustainability Goals. This year-over-year data, available for the first time, will allow brands and retailers to better measure progress towards meeting sustainability commitments.

“One of our goals in developing the Trust Protocol is to give brands and retailers greater confidence when including U.S. cotton in their sourcing mix,” said Ken Burton, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “Participating brands and retailers will now be able to demonstrate measurable progress in reducing their environmental footprint and in achieving sustainability targets.”

The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies sustainability progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. By working with Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and Control Union Certifications North America, the Trust Protocol enables brands and retailers to better track the cotton entering their supply chain. Brands who become members of the Trust Protocol will have access to aggregate year-over-year data on water use, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, soil carbon and land use efficiency.

“At Levi Strauss & Co., the quality and sustainability of the cotton we use is critical to our business and important to our customers. We are deeply committed to sourcing sustainable cotton and reducing water usage, carbon emissions, and chemical usage,” said Liza Schillo, Senior Manager, Global Sustainability Integration, Levi Strauss & Co. and Trust Protocol Board Member. “We are therefore in strong support of the introduction of standards – including the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol – that champion sustainably grown cotton and drive wider adoption over the long-term of sustainable cultivation practices.”

The Trust Protocol is a complement to existing sustainability programs and is designed from the ground up to fit the unique cotton mass-growing environment of the United States. “We are engaged in an open dialogue with existing standards in the cotton industry, and open to are exploring future collaboration,“ added Burton.

Last month, the Trust Protocol was added to Textile Exchange’s list of 36 preferred fibers and materials that more than 170 participating brands and retailers can select from as part of Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index program.

35 Years of Continuous Improvements

Over the past 35 years, U.S. cotton has made significant improvements in growing cotton responsibly.

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To continue the progress, the Trust Protocol has ambitious national goals for 2025. By this date, the Trust Protocol aims to have more than half of all U.S. cotton production included in the program.

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“Achieving a transition towards agricultural sustainability requires broad public and private partnerships and a vital part of my work at The Nature Conservancy includes looking at ways to collaborate with key agricultural stakeholders,” said Dr. Kris Johnson, Deputy Director of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, North American Region and U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Board Member. “Informed by science-based targets, the Trust Protocol provides evidence of and encourages continuous improvements in U.S. cotton production.”

For more information, please visit https://TrustUsCotton.org, and visit us on social media.

https://twitter.com/trustuscotton

https://www.facebook.com/trustuscotton/

https://www.instagram.com/trustuscotton/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/responsibleuscotton/

About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

In a period of ever greater supply chain scrutiny and a growing demand for transparency, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will set a standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of responsibly-grown cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics.

The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies U.S. cotton’s progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Choosing Trust Protocol cotton will give brands and retailers the critical assurances they need that the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk. Brands and retailers will gain access to U.S. cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is overseen by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors comprised of representatives from brands and retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts as well as the cotton-growing industry, including growers, ginners, merchants, wholesalers and cooperatives, mills and cottonseed handlers.

Media Contact: Avra Lorrimer, Avra.Lorrimer@hkstrategies.com; +1 347-685-5745

Tillis and Warner Lead Bipartisan Push for Cotton and Textile Industry Assistance in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) recently led a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging the next round of COVID-19 assistance adequately address the magnitude of the losses felt throughout the cotton supply chain by cotton farmers, textile mills, and the cotton merchandising segment.

“Across the agricultural sectors, the U.S. cotton and textile industry is particularly hard hit as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented demand destruction for cotton apparel and textiles,” wrote the Senators. “Billions of dollars of orders have been canceled as retail shopping outlets remain closed or operate at reduced capacity. The collapse in cotton demand is being felt across the U.S. cotton industry from textile manufacturers to merchandisers to cotton producers, and all segments in between.  The viability of the farms and businesses, and the jobs they represent, are at risk of not surviving this crisis.”

“When Congress considers additional relief efforts in response to COVID-19, we believe any package should ensure USDA’s next round of agricultural assistance will adequately address the magnitude of the losses felt throughout the cotton supply chain by cotton farmers and include critical relief for textile mills and the cotton merchandising segment, all of which are facing unprecedented economic losses,” the Senators continued. “We want to work closely with you and our other colleagues to ensure adequate relief for the U.S. cotton industry so that this critical industry receives the necessary assistance for all segments to survive and recover.”

Joining Senators Tillis and Warner were Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

The full text of the letter is available here or below.

Richey Seaton to Retire from Georgia Cotton Commission, Sills to Serve as Executive Director

gccseatonThe Georgia Cotton Commission recently announced that Richey Seaton, the Commission’s Executive Director, has decided to retire effective August 1, 2020. Taylor Sills will serve as Executive Director upon Seaton’s retirement.
Seaton has served in his role since 1994, and prior to that, worked for the Georgia Department of Agriculture as the Director of the Commodities Promotion Division. During Seaton’s tenure, he was responsible for reestablishing the Commission’s office and staff, and has ushered the organization’s programs of research, promotion, and education to new heights as Georgia’s cotton acreage has increased over the years.
“Richey’s 26 years of service to Georgia’s cotton farmers and nearly 50 years of service to agriculture will not be forgotten. Through good times and bad, Richey’s support for the cotton industry here in Georgia has been unwavering,” said GCC Chairman Bart Davis, a cotton farmer from Colquitt County. He furthermore added, “Richey has been a mentor to many, and his influence has made an incredible impact on thousands of cotton farmers across the state. On behalf of Georgia’s 3,500 cotton farmers, I want to publicly thank him for his service.”
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Taylor as we build on the foundation that Richey has laid and continue our tradition of service to cotton farmers,” said Davis.

Culpepper: Cooperation, Preparation, and Sound Science are the Keys to Agricultural Sustainability

Stewarding agriculture is a passion that we all have in common and are working every day to achieve. As the world’s population is expected to approach 10 billion people by 2050, family farms are faced with feeding and clothing them all. To meet this demand, science confirms growers must have access to economically effective pesticides. However, it is equally important that all pesticides are used carefully and strategically in ways that protect consumers, applicators, growers and their neighbors, and our environment.

Georgia’s agricultural family including Extension, farmers, consultants, retailers/dealers, industry, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture have taken to heart the importance of stewarding pesticides.  In regards to mitigating off-target pesticide movement, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service has observed a 75% reduction in drift complaints over the past five years. For implementing sound management programs, again farmers did much better overall this year 1) starting clean, 2) applying two active ingredients effective on Palmer amaranth at planting (research is showing these at-plant applications control about 98% of the pigweed for the entire year), 3) making timely topical applications and understanding the time between sequential applications is critical, and 4) hopefully finishing the weed control program off with a layby or hooded application (I hear you, “I don’t have time for this application”…..well, do you have more time to pull up all the pigweed that will be resistant to dicamba, Liberty, and/or your other herbicides?).

Many growers are rightfully concerned about in-crop labeled solo dicamba products in regards to recent court decisions and the reregistration of these products moving into 2021. In the short-term, make sure to use these herbicides wisely through July 31, 2020; always follow the label. Using these products after that date would be extremely dangerous; if you drift a non-registered pesticide on my crop how do you think you will do if I take you to court… use common sense! In regards to reregistration, the U.S EPA is receiving data needed to make this decision including 1) data from registrants, 2) incidence report data, 3) land grant and Weed Science Society data, and 4) additional published data.  The results of this data will likely be critical in their decision making process which will hopefully occur no later than the end of October!

I may be one of few, but I am optimistic when it comes to the future use of these topically applied in-crop dicamba products. So far, Georgia has stewarded these products wisely by keeping them on target and utilizing sound integrated weed management programs. Of course, you must already know that it is more important than ever for your 2020 dicamba applications to stay on target or my optimism for a 2021 label is no more!  With that said changes are needed, we need labels that are easier to understand and provide better recommendations for our area. I am hopeful that our industry and regulatory partners will work together creating new regionalized labels helping us keep products on target while delaying further resistance in Palmer amaranth (oh, it’s coming and the decisions you make each day determines when it will get you!).

Cooperation, preparation, sound science, and making wise decisions when applying all pesticides are the reasons we have been able to use dicamba in our 2020 cotton crop; these factors will be even more critical if we are to have these and other tools for 2021!

Field to Market and U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Announce Partnership to Advance Sustainable Outcomes for Cotton

WASHINGTON, June 25 — Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol announced a new agreement today that formalizes a partnership between the two organizations to document and accelerate sustainable outcomes for U.S. cotton production. The new partnership strengthens the ability of cotton growers and the value chain to drive continuous improvement, combining two of the industry’s leading sustainability assessment frameworks.

“Field to Market is pleased to join forces with the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol to enable the industry to meet its sustainability goals and credibly communicate results,” said Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market. “Through this collaboration, Field to Market is committed to scaling access to our sustainability tools and analytics and enabling growers and the broader cotton value chain to measure environmental outcomes while identifying opportunities for improvement.”

In a memorandum of understanding signed this week, Field to Market and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol have committed to:

  • Scale grower access to sustainability measurement by enabling farmers enrolled in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol to utilize metrics from Field to Market’s FieldprintÒ Platform, allowing growers to analyze the connection between agronomic practices and sustainability outcomes;
  • Track U.S. cotton’s sustainability journey through continued publication of Field to Market’s National Indicators Report, which will communicate progress against the industry’s established environmental targets; and
  • Foster an increased level of collaboration by participating in each other’s meetings and work sessions.

Together, Field to Market and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will assess progress against the U.S. cotton industry’s established environmental targets. By 2025, the industry aims to achieve targeted reductions in soil loss, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy use, alongside increased land use efficiency and soil carbon.  The Trust Protocol completed a successful project pilot in 2019, and has begun fully implementing its programs in 2020, with a goal to enroll at least 500 producers by December 2020.

“Sustainability is a growing priority for the U.S. cotton value chain, from consumers, brands, retailers to textile manufacturers,” said Ken Burton, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol looks forward to collaborating with Field to Market to scale our collective sustainability impact, meet our industry targets and strengthen the sustainability of U.S. Cotton.”