Sustainability has become a tired buzzword in the agriculture industry (see also "innovation" and "solutions"). But I do respect an honest effort when a farm or agribusinesses makes a play for more sustainable production. Cotton farmers are fueling the latest sustainability push, thanks to a collaboration between Field to Market and Bayer CropScience’s new e3 program.
Farmers who enroll in the program document their farm’s performance on Field to Market’s Fieldprint Calculator, which measures areas such as productivity, land use, soil loss, irrigation water use, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers self-report, but their scores are verified through in-season and post-harvest third-party audits. The goal is for farmers to compare their performance with local data averages and find areas of improvement on their land.
Through Bayer’s Certified FiberMax and authentic Stoneville programs, buyers can also identify where their cotton was grown, which provides another layer of farm accountability.
Brent Crossland, fiber development manager at Bayer CropScience, says the desire for more sustainable cotton production is a common thread for farmers, textile producers, brands and retailers alike.
"Bayer CropScience is proud to bring a new and comprehensive option to the table that addresses the various and complex aspects of sustainable cotton," he says.
Olah, Inc., is providing additional assistance "downstream," where the group will serve as consultant and marketer of e3 cotton to the textile and apparel industries.
"In a world where sustainability has become a catchphrase, we are thrilled to be able to champion a cotton program that addresses the reality and science of sustainable cotton farming," says Andrew Olah, chief executive of Olah Inc.