MEMPHIS – In recognition of Earth Day, the National Cotton Council emphasizes that the U.S. industry continues to make strides in sustainable cotton production and processing with the overall goal of improving environmental quality.
NCC Chairman Jay Hardwick, a northeast Louisiana cotton producer, said as the world celebrates Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, there is not a better time to remind everyone that sustainable agriculture can meet the world’s food and fiber needs while improving the soil, water and air.
Hardwick, a director of the Tensas Concordia Soil and Water Conservation District, said the NCC and Cotton Incorporated, together with other commodity, consumer and environmental organizations, have made significant strides recently to define agricultural sustainability and set up achievable goals to evaluate progress. For example, the NCC assisted Cotton Incorporated in a survey of cotton producers’ production practices to confirm the true extent of cotton’s limited environmental impact.
He said today’s cotton producers are remarkable stewards of the land and the NCC has helped promote that stewardship among its members by identifying many producers who are displaying outstanding environmental ethic. That is being done, in part, through the NCC’s support of the High Cotton Awards, an effort by Farm Press Publication editors to ferret out and spotlight U.S. cotton’s environmental stewardship leaders and their various conservation practices.
The NCC also recently initiated its “Advancing Cotton Education,” (ACE) program. That is designed to inform and educate cotton producers and others involved in the crop production decision-making process about best management practices, including their positive environmental impact.