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Better Cotton in the US

The United States is the third-largest cotton-producing country in the world, and its cotton quality is prized across the global textile industry.

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While American cotton farmers use advanced production methods, they still face sustainability challenges like herbicide resistance, soil erosion and regional irrigation water shortages.

In response to demand from our members, retailers, suppliers and interested farmer groups, we launched a Better Cotton programme in the United States in 2014. Since then, we have been working closely with the American cotton industry to grow the US Better Cotton supply chain.

Better Cotton Partners in the US

Our current Implementing Partners in the United States include:

  • Allenberg (Louis Dreyfus)
  • Calcot
  • Cargill
  • Indigo Ag
  • Jess Smith & Sons
  • Olam
  • Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA)
  • Quarterway Cotton Growers
  • Staple Cotton Cooperative Association
  • Supima

We also work with local and national NGOs, universities and government agencies.

Sustainability challenges

Cotton in the US is grown throughout the US Cotton Belt, an area that stretches from North Carolina to California. In many parts of the Cotton Belt, farmers struggle to manage weeds that have developed resistance to common herbicides, making it necessary to use alternative herbicides and weed management techniques and/or herbicide rotations to reduce overall usage.

Extreme weather events are also impacting growers. California, known for its long-staple cotton varieties, has experienced a multi-year drought, making irrigation water both scarce and costly. In other regions like West Texas, water tables are falling, compelling farmers to invest in more efficient irrigation methods or transition to less water-intensive crops. Some Better Cotton Farmers are installing drip irrigation, which can reduce irrigation water needs by up to 50%.

Through our US Implementing Partners, we help farmers address these and other sustainability challenges to improve their performance and profitability.

Find out more about the outcomes farmers are experiencing by participating in the Better Cotton programme in our latest Farmer Results Report.

A recent Better Cotton field trip to Lubbock, Texas

Major merchants are now actively trading US Better Cotton, and many leading North American suppliers and manufacturers are joining the Better Cotton Initiative as demand rises from Better Cotton Retailer and Brand Members. A list of North American Better Cotton Members can be found here.

North Carolina as a state is one of the larger adopters of cover crop use in the US, and across the entire country we are seeing a soil health movement. With cover crops, people are trying to look at a more holistic way of treating and using our soil as the valuable resource it is.

Get in touch

Contact our team via the contact form if you’d like to learn more, become a partner or you’re a farmer interested in farming Better Cotton.