Iconic American denim brand Wrangler has announced the launch of a pilot program to help U.S. cotton farmers reach the next level in sustainable growing practices. Under the program, the Newby family—seventh-generation farmers from Athens, Alabama—will work with Wrangler and advisors from the Soil Health Institute to unlock further improvements in cotton yield, irrigation water, energy inputs, greenhouse gas emissions and soil conservation. Forty thousand pounds of the Newby’s cotton will then be used to make a special collection of Wrangler denim jeans that will be sold in 2018.
“Scientific research shows greater attention to soil health can further reduce the water and energy inputs required to grow cotton and other crops,” explained Wrangler sustainability director, Roian Atwood. “We’re working with a cotton grower in Alabama to explore the best way to implement and measure the effects of robust soil practices like no-till, crop rotation and cover cropping. We hope to have dozens of growers in the program within a few years.”
“Our family has always looked for new ways to make farming more economical, while taking better care of the land,” said Jerry Allen Newby. “There’s been a learning curve, but we’re beginning to see good results with things like cover crops and soil grid mapping. We’re happy to work with Wrangler, share what we’ve learned, and maybe make it easier for other growers to transition to these practices.”