As part of Wal-Mart's “Earth Month” campaign, the retail giant is attempting to boost the supply of certified organic cotton in the marketplace.

A few years ago the company became the biggest purchaser of organic cotton and launched a full-on organic offensive in 2006. However, supply doesn't seem to be meeting their demand. The up-front investment required to convert crops to organic is hard to handle for many farmers. They need to be in the game for three years before their crop is certified “organic” and profits kick in. To encourage farmers to switch to organic cotton farming, Wal-Mart said it purchased more than 12 million pounds of transitional cotton from approximately 1,000 farmers at the same premium cost of certified organic cotton. “We heard from our supplier and other partners … that this was necessary in the market,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Tara Raddohl.

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