When it comes to understanding the sustainability of U.S. cotton, Soil Health Institute (SHI) conservationist David Lamm always returns to the soil. “When producers use management practices that complement how soils function, particularly to support cotton production, they realize that they do not have to accept degraded soil as the norm,” reflects Lamm. “Soil is supposed to cycle nutrients, retain water and buffer against pollutants. It’s a complex biological ecosystem. We are trying to help producers see the soil as a living ecosystem.”
As a conservationist and Project Manager for SHI, Lamm is on the forefront of scaling adoption of positive soil health practices across the cotton belt. The Soil Health Institute launched its Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Project in three states in 2019, participating in Field to Market’s Continuous Improvement Accelerator, with financial support from the Walmart Foundation, VF Foundation, and Wrangler.
“It’s exciting that the industry is wanting to show their consumers that the cotton they use is being grown in a sustainable way,” says Lamm. “Implementing soil health management systems is a very effective way to meet sustainability standards for the cotton industry.”