The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol recently announced that growers can enroll in the initiative and apply for the U.S. Climate Smart Cotton Program, presenting a transformative opportunity and offering a range of benefits that go beyond sustainability.

This is the second year of the enrollment window transition allowing growers to begin the process before planting and better align with peak cotton marketing dates. Growers who completed their enrollment during either period in 2023 will need to enroll again and are encouraged to get started today to maximize benefits. 

Key dates:

  • January 4: Trust Protocol enrollment and Climate Smart Cotton Program applications open
  • March 1Deadline to enter data and upload bales from the 2023 crop
  • April 30: Trust Protocol Enrollment and Climate Smart Cotton Program applications close

The Trust Protocol is free for growers and is a voluntary, science-based sustainability program that sets a new standard for delivering value from fiber to finished products. 

“The Trust Protocol is the sustainability initiative for the U.S. cotton industry that provides growers field-level insights to help save money and improve efficiencies but is also an established platform to connect sustainably grown cotton with the supply chain,” said Daren Abney, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “Growers who complete their enrollment in the Trust Protocol can also apply for the Climate Smart Cotton Program, providing technical and financial support to help de-risk the implementation and adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture practices.”

U.S. cotton producer participation in the Trust Protocol is critical as brand and retailer demand for more sustainably grown cotton is higher than ever before. Recognizing the risks posed by carbon emissions, improving carbon footprint is also a key focus area in the coming years. U.S. cotton farmers can play a vital role in achieving this through the U.S. Climate Smart Cotton Program. The shared goal of the program is to support farmers in adopting and implementing sustainable practices that benefit both their operations and the environment.

Applications for the Climate Smart Cotton Program will be reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis until 1,650 farmers are approved, including 330 farmers from historically underserved communities.   

Since the Trust Protocol’s launch in 2020, the program has already welcomed more than 2,000 supply chain members and over 40 companies and their brands including Ralph Lauren, Gap, Levi Strauss & Co. and J.Crew.

To begin enrollment in the Trust Protocol and apply for the Climate Smart Cotton Program, visit

About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol 

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is a voluntary, farm-level science-based sustainability program that is setting a new standard for delivering value to all stakeholders across the entire supply chain from farms to finished products.?It is the only system that provides quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurement and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.? It is also the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber program to offer article-level supply chain transparency to all members. 

The Trust Protocol is also proud to lead the U.S. Climate Smart Cotton Program, a 5-year, collaborative initiative that presents a transformative opportunity for cotton growers to enhance their profitability, operations, and environmental stewardship, all while contributing to the long-term viability of the U.S. cotton industry. 

The Trust Protocol is overseen by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors comprised of representatives from brands and retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts as well as the cotton-growing industry, including growers, ginners, merchants, wholesalers and cooperatives, mills and cottonseed handlers.