The journey of organic cotton starts with securing untreated, natural (non-GMO) seeds, preparing the land and sowing the seeds. It takes approximately 60 to 70 days from planting until the first flower appears, and bolls appear approximately 45 days after bloom. The growth cycle of the cotton plant lasts for approximately 5-6 months. Techniques and methods used by farmers include crop rotation, cover crops, intercropping, trap crops, conservation tillage, compost and manure. A large majority of organic cotton is rain-fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources. According to the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, its growers do not use any inputs for weed control, preferring to use mechanical tillage and hand weeding.They very rarely use anything for insect control, preferring to create resilient crops by building healthy soils. Once the cotton boll is fully dried and fluffed, it is ready for harvesting. Organic cotton is not chemically defoliated.
In the 2017-18 there were 20,923,000 total bales of cotton produced and approximately 23,000 were organically grown or .11%. The Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, based in the West Texas High Plains, grew 85% percent of all the organic cotton in the U.S.
U.S cotton is fully traceable to the farm where it was produced, so its origin and quality is fully verifiable. The United States is the only country in the world that tests 100% of all its bales. Not every fourth or fifth. Not even every other. Every single bale. Every bale has its own Permanent Bale Identification (PBI) tag. As each bale goes through the ginning and classing process, this tag goes along with it. so a buyer always knows where, when and how the bale was harvested, ginned and classed.
98% of all US cotton farms are family operated. Most cotton fields have been in their families for generations, so it’s in their best interest to protect them for future generations. Our cotton is grown by the farmers of West Texas who belong to a cooperative of approximately 40 producer members. They plant 18-20,000 acres of cotton each year. In recent years, total annual production on these family farms has ranged from 11,000 to 17,000 bales.