Plains Cotton Cooperative Association: Innovation from Field to Fashion

Publications

Commentator
Summer 2008
SAFEDenim

photo by Lynette Wilson

American Cotton Growers (ACG) proves its true colors are “true blue and green” with the launch of a new campaign highlighting the environmental friendliness of denim produced from cotton grown by its member-owners.

As fashion trends recently have gone “green,” the mill also hopes to capitalize on U.S. consumers’ growing interest in purchasing American-made, environmentally friendly products. The new promotion also was initiated to benefit the cooperative’s members by expanding ACG’s denim sales opportunities and striving to locate a less price-sensitive environment.

Small scale manufacturers of apparel, home furnishings, crafts, and fabric retailers that serve the home sewing markets, but need smaller volumes of fabrics, now have Internet access to denim that is Sustainable, American and Friendly to the Environment (SAFE). The fabric produced by ACG has been branded SAFEDenim.

“We can produce an average of 37 million yards of denim annually, every yard of which is spun, dyed and woven from the cotton our farmer-owners produce,” Wally Darneille, PCCA’s President and CEO said. “It is a process that is a true, homespun phenomenon, American denim literally created from field to fabric. Until now, ACG denim was available only to manufacturers who could meet our minimum volume requirements,” Darneille added. “Today, our fabrics featuring the same quality and reliability are available via the Internet with virtually no minimum requirements.”

ACG is focused on the development and production of value-added, fashion denim fabrics for its customers while meeting or exceeding all regulations administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.


photo by Lynette Wilson

“We created the SAFE concept to address a lot of misinformation that’s all too common in our industry. The idea that conventional cotton is bad for the environment is something we hear all too often,” said PCCA’s Vice President of Fabric Sales and Product Development Jack Mathews. “The SAFEDenim story helps to set the record straight and provide insight into practices and technologies of which many of our customers were unaware,” Mathews added.

ACG’s fabric, which until now was only available to the world’s largest manufacturers, is being made available to smaller boutique manufactures that share the mill’s vision of cloth that is Sustainable, American, and Friendly to the Environment.

“In all possible processes throughout the mill, we use the best available technology to apply the principles of reduce, re-use, recycle and avoid production of hazardous waste,” Darneille said. “That stewardship carries all the way from the field to our fabric. For our farmer-owners, it is not just a fad; it is a multi-generational commitment to take care of the air, soil and water to ensure their children and grandchildren can farm the land.”

New technologies have enabled cotton producers to use 45 percent less water to grow cotton, and pesticide applications have been reduced by 50 percent in the past 20 years. Other developments have dramatically reduced the land area required to produce enough cotton to meet demand. In 1926, U.S. farmers planted more than 44 million acres and produced almost 18 million bales. By 2004, U.S. cotton acreage totaled 14 million acres that produced 23 million bales, leaving an additional 30 million acres for production of food, conservation and wildlife habitat.

ACG’s web-based store, www.safedenim.com, allows customers to buy SAFEDenim direct from the source in 30-yard rolls for easy handling. Orders are shipped within two business days, and easy payment options help avoid delays.

“We offer a wide range of denim fabrics for bottomweight apparel such as jeans, jackets, skirts, shorts, and pants, as well as for home furnishings and crafts,” Mathews explained. “We produce every style we offer; therefore, customers can be assured of consistent, reliable quality at great wholesale prices, and we can and will replenish our inventory to ensure they receive the same style time after time.” Custom-made denim apparel and accessories may be offered by ACG in the future.

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