The Cotton LEADS™ program recently announced its newest member Wrangler® and applauded the brand’s commitment to promoting soil health practices as a foundation for improving sustainability in the industry. The global denim manufacturer joins more than 540 program partners supporting continual improvement by cotton growers in the United States and Australia.
Wrangler launched its sustainable cotton program in 2017 and aims to double its use of cotton acquired through the program by 2019. Most recently, the brand published “Seeding Soil’s Potential,” an overview of 45 scientific reports definitively concluding the practices of conservation tillage, cover crops, and crop rotation result in greater crop resiliency and productivity, among a host of other benefits to the grower and the land.
“Joining Cotton LEADS is an important step in building Wrangler’s program for sustainable U.S. cotton,” said Wrangler sustainability director, Roian Atwood. “Cotton LEADS has deep research on productivity within the industry, and we’re particularly interested in the program’s attention to soil health.”
The National Cotton Council of America and Cotton Incorporated, founding members of Cotton LEADS, advised the development of industry-wide goals for 2025 to maintain or improve U.S. cotton productivity levels while decreasing soil loss by 50 percent and increasing soil carbon (an overall indicator of soil health) by 30 percent. Other goals include:
Decreasing land use by 13 percent
Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 39 percent
Decreasing energy inputs by 15 percent
Increasing water efficiency by 18 percent
To help achieve these goals, Cotton LEADS makes available online tutorials for growers, including science-based, soil-health recommendations for different regions and growing conditions. Cotton LEADS also is working with global stakeholders to create a soil-health decision tool to help growers identify and address observed problems in the field. As envisioned, the tool would include diagnostic methods, online references for different regions, and practice recommendations to minimize specific soil-health problems for growers with diverse resources.
“Measurement and science are the fundamental elements of the continual improvement efforts of the Cotton LEADS™ program. We want to help cotton growers evaluate and measure the conservation needs and benefits of their agricultural lands,” said Dr. Kater Hake, vice president for agricultural and environmental research at Cotton Incorporated. “Wrangler shares this goal, and the brand’s strong reputation among growers will undoubtedly help in raising awareness for this important work.
The Cotton LEADS™ program is a joint effort of the Australian and U.S. cotton industries. Its founding members are Cotton Australia, the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, the Cotton Foundation, the National Cotton Council of America, Cotton Council International, and Cotton Incorporated. The program is designed to raise awareness of responsible growing practices and commitment to continuous improvement among cotton producers in the member countries.