Farm Tours Offers Rare Insight into Cotton Industry

One of the nation’s few events offering the public an on-the-ground look at cotton production returns in October in the San Joaquin Valley.

Growing in popularity over the past decade, the annual Cotton Tour attracts across section of consumers, apparel company representatives and textile industry officialsfrom across the country, offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at how San Joaquin Valley growers are reshaping the future of California’s $225 million-a-year cotton industry. The event is scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 25. Cost is $40 a person, which includes transportation to field locations, snacks and lunch at the Cardella Winery in Mendota.

Growers and a leading University of California cotton farm advisor will provide insights about conventional cotton cultivation and the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Cleaner Cotton™production in the heart of the Central Valley.  Participants will inspect the crop before harvest, explore a perennial hedgerow, meet with farmers and visit a cotton gin during the tour.

Buses will leave the Best Western Apricot Inn – Interstate 5 and West Panoche Road about 23 miles southwest of Firebaugh. Register through the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Eventbrite site.

The annual tour also highlights the successful efforts of SCP growers, who follow sustainable agriculture and biointensive integrated pest management practices to reduce the application of the most toxic pesticides used in cotton production.

“People in the fashion industry rarely have the opportunity to experience cotton cultivation first-hand. These tours bring together farmers, brokers, supply chain partners and brands to understand the challenges and possibilities of making changes in the cotton industry,” said Lynda Grose, SCP marketing consultant. “This experience stays with people for years.”

Founded in 1996, the Sustainable Cotton Project is a California nonprofit that has worked with valley growers to produce Cleaner Cotton™ and bring the fiber through the textile supply chain to a wide variety of markets.

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