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Soil Health

As global focus on climate change increases, so has attention to carbon capture and sequestration, or the process of preventing carbon from entering the atmosphere and storing it safely. Carbon capture or sequestration occurs naturally, when plants take carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis and store it in the soil or plant.

The cotton plant is in fact very efficient at removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and its capacity to store it in the soil and fiber is only increasing. Agricultural innovations like precision fertilization, cover cropping, and no-till management, which is becoming increasingly popular around the world, significantly improve the soil’s carbon and water storage capacity.

Cotton Removes Carbon from the Atmosphere

Taking into account the carbon stored in cotton fiber, an acre of no-till cotton actually stores 350 pounds more of atmospheric carbon than it emits during cotton production, meaning that cotton’s contribution to the carbon equation is net negative.1 This carbon sequestration can be further enhanced by the use of cover crops, which is also becoming an increasingly frequent practice.2 So, not only is responsible cotton production carbon-conscious, it also has the potential to be a vital part of the global effort to curb climate change.

If all the cotton farms in the world3 employed conservation tillage techniques, the global cotton acreage would remove emissions equivalent to taking 3.5 million passenger cars off the highways every year!4


Pathways to Progress: Reducing Climate Impacts in Agriculture


How Cotton Can Fit Into a Sustainable Future

How Cotton Can Fit Into a Sustainable Future

Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and how the choices they make affect the environment. Responses to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ survey show that consumer interest in sustainability and apparel has increased from 46% in 2011 to 49.7%...

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Celebrating the Innovations of Cotton Growers

Have you ever picked up your go-to cotton t-shirt and considered how this garment came from a farm to your closet? While many of us appreciate the qualities this natural fiber brings to our favorite clothes, it’s easy to forget that what we are wearing started with a...

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Power Plant: Fiber and Food from Cotton

When you think of cotton, you think of the fiber for clothing and personal care items. Did you know the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates cotton as a food crop? The food service and restaurant industries have been using Cottonseed oil, a coproduct of cotton...

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  1. Cotton LEADS – Sustainable Cotton Production. (2019). Cotton carbon FOOTPRINT U.S. https://cottonleads.org/sustainable-production/carbon-footprint-united-states/.
  2. Cover Crop Strategies. (2019). Census of Ag: Cover Crop acres in U.S. growing 8% per year. Cover Crop Strategies. https://www.covercropstrategies.com/articles/178-census-of-ag-cover-crop-acres-in-us-growing-8-per-year.
  3. USDA. (2021). Cotton: World Markets and Trade. https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/cotton.pdf
  4. Franzluebbers, Alan J. (2021). Achieving Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration with Conservation Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States. Soil Science Society of America Journal 74, no. 2 (2010): 347–57. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2009.0079.