Cotton Incorporated has released data on the U.S. cotton industry’s use of natural resources.
• Land: Cotton is very land efficient; meeting about 40 percent of the world’s textile needs on less than 3 percent of agricultural land resources. Cotton is expected to meet future increased fiber demand on fixed-land resources due to continued yield increases (more cotton per unit of land).
• Water: In the U.S., 36 percent of cotton acreage is irrigated. Most is applied to supplement rainfall. Cotton is a natural drought and heat-tolerant crop. It provides a source of income for small growers around the world in places where no other crops can be grown.
• Energy: From field to bale, cotton produces more energy than is required for its production due to the energy stored in the cottonseed.
• Air: Cotton has a neutral greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint if the carbon in the fiber is accounted for. Cotton captures more GHG than emitted when credit is applied for the energy stored in the cottonseed.
• Habitat: Cotton fields supply oxygen, provide habitat for wildlife, and capture and store carbon.