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Traceability & SCM for Agriculture

Context & Challenges

It is near impossible to trace the movements of our food and to confirm its ingredients.

A 2018 USDA study of accredited organic certifiers found that almost half did not meet at least one standard. This is a frequently occurring situation, whereby food is not what it says it is, with a 2017 USDA report admitting a failure to adequately certify imported organic food.

The opacity of the food industry has driven a trust deficit between consumers and food providers, farmers, and federal regulators.

A study by the Center for Food Integrity found that only 33% of respondents strongly agreed that they are confident in the safety of their food, as compared to 47% in 2017. Less than half of respondents said they had a positive impression of the food industry.

Consumer trust is integral to the success and profitability of a company. As such, the deficit in trust as caused by the opacity of the agricultural supply chain represents a financial and social loss for the industry. A study from Response Media discovered that 98.5% of consumers would pay more for transparent products, meaning that improving traceability would positively impact a company’s bottom line.

Who is impacted?

  • Farmers
    A traceable supply chain not only builds consumer trust but also data-driven decision making as pertains to supply usage, production, and partnerships.
  • Regulators
    Without oversight on the supply chain, it’s near impossible to effectively regulate it and enforce standardization.
  • Consumers
    For consumers, an opaque supply chain creates discomfort and potential risks, as it’s impossible to be certain of the origin and composition of any food item.
  • Supply Chain Partners
    For the entire supply chain, traceability could ensure smoother operations, decrease inefficiencies, and increase customer retention and loyalty.

To facilitate traceability with traditional methods requires inordinate amounts of data, labor, and time, rendering it near impossible to do. Those companies that succeed are usually small, family-run and able to obviously prove the origin of their food, such as farmers’ market stalls. Most companies however, face a multitude of obstacles to traceability, beginning with the complexity of the agricultural supply chain.

  • Many active parties – suppliers >producers>distributors and storage>retailers>consumers
  • No standardization – supply chain parties are siloed and disconnected
  • A spread out and global supply chain – any product has countless movements and transitions over a wide geographic span

In between these challenges, data inherently gets lost and miscommunicated, rendering traceability near impossible.

  • Seed Traceability solution built in collaboration with Bayer Crop Science
  • Track the lifecycle and status of high-value agricultural products, including soybeans and corn, from sale and planting through harvest.
  • Tested over the course of several growing seasons to the highest industry standards

Ag SCM Overview PDF

  • Full lifecycle tracking of agricultural supplies
  • Immutable records of supply usage
  • Enhanced customer retention and streamlined re-ordering
  • Enhanced regulatory (e.g. EPA) reporting capabilities