Farmobile editors | November 26, 2019
Editors note: Take a look back on this year’s observations from the road trips with Jason Tatge, Farmobile CEO .
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One of the trends that continues to grow in our society is that of transparency and traceability. More consumers, and in turn, food companies, want to know how and where their food was grown. Agdata may just be the farmer’s best friend.
Tune in to The Extra Mile from my conversation with Steve Cubbage, Record Harvest president and Farmobile vice president of services. In a “story-behind-the-story,” we discuss the growing push for food traceability and how agdata will play a vital role in the future of growers and agriculture.
Jason: … But there’s this whole traceability thing, and I think a lot of these food companies are just now realizing that they’ve got some stuff on the shelf that they think, or at least they thought until recently, that they had pretty good documentation on: “This is my supplier. He’s given me this.” But I think after you see a couple scares … suddenly everyone’s saying, “Okay, what is my risk as the food company that’s got the branded product on the shelf? What is my risk? And, where is the documentation for all of this?”
Steve: Right. They’re going to pass that risk. A couple of lawsuits of food industry companies, they’re going to pass that risk or make sure that risk is shared down to the grower level. And the grower needs to be prepared for that. I mean, you can only play four-corner offense so long.
Jason: And if you have good documentation, that’s almost like a value-added crop.
Steve Cubbage: It really is. At some point in the future, those are the growers that companies are going to come to first. And, those (relationships) are either going to be premiums or the market could exclude those growers, who don’t basically provide the information or the digital data that these companies are going to need. Because … these multi billion dollar companies, they’re being asked, “Prove it. Prove it of what actually took place clear back at the grower level.” Today, that’s not very clear or transparent. Basically, that’s what Farmobile does. It provides that transparency clear down to the grower level — something that, basically, we didn’t have before.
Jason: I think the crazy part about it is the fact that, I mean, they’re trying to take the product on the shelf and trace it all the way back through the supply chain when they don’t have a fundamental understanding of the way our grain handling system in the country is created. Right? It’s created for the exact opposite, so that’s where we’re always going to have this friction. But I think as growers start to collect their own data, I think we’ll see food companies sending containers out to specific farms to pick up that crop and keep it out of the traditional grain handling system.
Steve Cubbage: I think you’re starting to see inklings of that. I think it’s a few more lawsuits, and truthfully, you’re seeing that as far as in the premium markets. I mean, you can see a Whole Foods, you can see a HelloFresh making it in the marketplace. Those are very direct-to-customer markets that have literally blossomed in the millennial age.
Continue reading for more of the conversation in Trip 3: Quality data matters.