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Regenerative cotton practices boost profits and soil health in the US


The future of cotton farming in the United States is getting greener. A nationwide partnership led by the Soil Health Institute's United States Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) is making significant progress in promoting sustainable practices.

The USRCF's approach focuses on three key areas - economic benefits, soil health measurement, and farmer education.

Since its launch in 2021, the USRCF has engaged over 1,000 cotton farmers and their advisors across the US Cotton Belt. The program supports the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices that improve soil health, the foundation for a sustainable farming system.

Profitability Meets Sustainability

The initial results of the USRCF program are encouraging. A study of 19 farms in five states found that those using soil health management systems saw production costs decrease by an average of $53 per acre.

Even better, these farms also saw an average net farm income increase of $150 per acre within their cotton rotations. This demonstrates that regenerative practices can be both good for the environment and good for the bottom line. 

Empowering Farmers Through Soil Measurement 

The USRCF is also helping farmers understand the health of their soil. They have established soil health benchmarks for over 2 million acres of land in Texas and Arkansas.

These benchmarks provide farmers with personalized reports that detail the current health of their soil, areas for improvement, and the impact on carbon and water storage. This information empowers farmers to set science-based goals for improving their soil health.

Investing in the Future

The USRCF recognizes the importance of education and training. The program has provided eleven interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities with hands-on experience in applying soil health research to real-world scenarios.

Additionally, over 25 field demonstrations and workshops have been held, reaching more than 1,300 farmers and advisors across seven states.

The USRCF is a promising initiative supported by a consortium of organizations including The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, Walmart Foundation, and Cotton Incorporated.

This collaborative effort is helping US cotton farmers adopt sustainable practices that benefit both the environment and their wallets.

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