Mr. Green Jeans

A cotton combine moves through a field harvesting the Georgia crop that accounted for income of more than $900 million for the state’s farmers in 2018.

LEARY — That next pair of jeans may be blue on the outside, but they could be green — as in grown in an environmentally friendly fashion – on the inside.

Leary farm McLendon Acres is among those in five states chosen by Wrangler for a signature line of locally grown and manufactured jeans.

The Wrangler Rooted collection is a “limited, premium line made from 100 percent sustainable, locally sourced cotton,” the company said.

The South Georgia farm selected to represent Georgia, among states that also include Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, has made protecting the farm environment a priority, said Adam McLendon.

“We started planting a sustainable-type cotton several years ago, and through Stoneville got in touch with Wrangler,” McLendon said, referring to Stoneville cottonseed. “They (Wrangler) were interested in promoting and purchasing a sustainable crop. We kind of got into communication then, and one thing led to another.”

In addition to the cottonseed used to grow their crop, the McLendons also use soil management practices that help protect the land the farm family depends on for their livelihood.

“I don’t feel like we’re set apart or different than any other farmer working in this area,” said McLendon, who with his father grows about 8,500 acres of cotton, peanuts and corn.

Making sure their activities have a minimal impact on the soil and environment is good for everybody, McLendon said.

“A lot of people don’t understand: Farmers want to take care of our land and take care of our resources,” he said.

“That’s how we make our living.”

The McLendons and the four other family farms that are supplying cotton to the Rooted Collection are the original growers in the Wrangler science and conservation program, which advocates for land stewardship and best practices for soil health, the company said. These science-backed methods build crop resilience to weather disruptions while improving yield, reducing water and energy inputs, fighting erosion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2025 Wrangler plans to source 100% of its cotton from farms using soil health practices.

The Georgia Jean has a unique wash, as well as trim and patch details featuring the state’s silhouette and other embellishments. Additionally, the denim fabric was made in Trion, by Mount Vernon Mills. The collection also includes two Georgia T-shirt designs.

The Wrangler Rooted Collection initially will be available through Wrangler.com and participating retailers. Jeans will retail for approximately $100, with T-shirts priced from $30 each.

“This is a great opportunity for the farmer and the state of Georgia,” McLendon said.

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