U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Grower Benefits

  • Access to aggregated data to baseline their own operation
  • Verified data year-over-year
  • Closer communication with their end-use customer
  • Insights and best practices from across the industry
  • Use of the Trust Protocol logo to market their cotton
  • Regular communications of Trust Protocol news and other information

The Trust Protocol is a voluntary program for all U.S. cotton growers.

Verification for Grower Members

Everything begins with our growers who provide farm-level information on six key sustainability metrics. By collecting this data, the Trust Protocol is providing our growers with self-assessment and benchmarking capabilities to identify areas of improvement in their operations. 

However, the Trust Protocol also recognizes the importance of verification which serves several purposes including:

  • Enabling members to monitor success 
  • Ensuring the question set remains applicable 
  • Allowing members to understand any gaps between self-declaration and actual data 
  • Providing brands and retailers the assurances they need to confidently source U.S. cotton

For verification processes, all grower members will be automatically placed into a producer group based on their growing region. 

The Trust Protocol then applies the square root methodology in order to determine the number of second and third-party verifications for that crop year. 

The use of second party, or desktop, verification creates a more robust and credible verification cycle and system. Third-party, or onsite visits, are up to a half day visit walking through the farm as well as reviewing any additional paperwork required for the verification of the questionnaire and FPC piece. 

If selected, participating in a third-party, independent verification is necessary in order for the grower to be considered in compliance with the program and a Trust Protocol representative will help walk you through the process.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol recently announced that enrollment for the 2023 crop year is open now through September 1, providing growers the opportunity to complete data entry prior to harvest. The updated timing also better aligns with key industry dates and allows a member’s cotton to be verified and visible as Protocol Cotton right after ginning during a critical three-month marketing window. Watch this video to learn more about the enrollment process.

The Climate Smart Cotton Program, led by the Trust Protocol, is a 5-year initiative that presents a transformative opportunity for cotton growers, offering a range of benefits that go beyond sustainability. The Climate Smart Cotton Program offers critical guidance and resources to help growers successfully implement Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices. CSA practice implementation can provide growers with reduced input costs, allowing them to optimize their operations and improve profitability. Growers also have the potential to achieve yield improvements, enhancing their productivity and crop quality. Click here to learn more.

The Trust Protocol’s mission is to bring quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production which provides brands and retailers with the critical assurances they need to confidently source more U.S. cotton. A successful program is a good for growers and their farming operations and helps ensure a viable market for U.S. cotton.

“The reason we joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was to show as U.S. cotton producers, we’re growing a good quality product, using the best quality practices available today.”

Photo of Brad Williams

Brad Williams

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol grower member, Tennessee

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Deepika Mishra

Standards and Data Lead (consultant)

Deepika Mishra is the Standards and Data Lead for the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, acting as a consultant for the program. As an accomplished scientist and data analytics specialist, Deepika leads on analysis of the Trust Protocol’s environmental metrics. She collaborates extensively with agricultural research institutions, conservation groups, and food and trade organizations, playing a vital role in the establishment of sustainability and social standards within the industry.

Deepika earned her Ph.D. in plant and soil science from Texas Tech University, specializing in cotton breeding and genetics. With over a decade of experience, she has spearheaded diverse agricultural projects in both India and the United States, covering crops like cotton, cowpeas, castor, sesame, guar, guayule, tomato, and field pennycress (cover crop). Her contributions also include the development and release of multiple cowpea varieties in India during her M.S. studies in vegetable breeding and genetics.