Organization is the Missing Link to Supply Chains

Grower Distribution Difficult

By Mikenzi Meyers, Contributing Editor

Creating a link between growers and the distributions of their commodities is becoming increasingly difficult. Aaron Magenheim with AgTech Insight based out of Salinas is helping to create a more efficient communication system to bring supply chains together.

Magenheim described a situation last year where Walmart required IBM technology in order to sell leafy greens, but when growers asked how to implement the technology, they could not get a clear answer. “We need to help move this industry forward and have the right people that work together and understand the right direction,” he said.

Another issue Magenheim has seen is the lack of data on failed trials. This is especially a problem in California, where there is a constant push to test new products. Whether it be hiring an analytics team or making sure growers record their ROI (return on investment), Magenheim said organization is the key to moving forward.

Consumers Get More Information with iTrade Fresh

More Transparency On Produce Available through iTrade Fresh

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

There is more transparency available now in produce sales, according to Dan Reighn, director of grower/shipper sales with iTrade Fresh. He explained how iTrade works with the entire supply chain for produce and perishables, providing scanning information for the customer.

“People know iTrade as a portal between buyers and sellers, so a buyer like Safeway is transacting with a supplier like Dole, … [and] we handle the purchase order, invoice, advance ship notice for them, but also we extend across the entire supply chain,” Reighn said.

“We’re offering full visibility at the very first mile supply chain where a case is either packed in the field or packed in the packing shed, and we can put a PTI traceability sticker or an item traceability sticker on a clamshell of berries and we’re able to track that product all the way to the other end of the supply chain,” he explained. “So when a consumer scans the product at the other end, they can learn more about where the product came from, and it’s a way for increased consumer engagement.”

The stickers placed on the packaging are for the customer to learn more about the grower and the local communities where the product was grown.

“There is information about the grower, so whether the product is picked in Mexico or South America, there’s a lot of growers that do a lot for local communities, and so consumers can learn about giving back and how they support the community,” Reighn said.

Because consumers are voting with their dollar, learning and feeling good about products that they’re buying can support the grower who might be providing community services or hospitals or other educational opportunities in Mexico.

“Alerts can also be sent,” Reighn said. “Our system allows us to send alerts out to consumers, so if as a clamshell of berries is part of the food recall, they’re able to understand it and follow instructions on what to do. They can call a number, turn the product in and so forth. So it’s a way for consumers to feel good about what they’re eating and making sure that they’re eating safe produce.”

CEO Council on Sustainability and Innovation Launched

Agribusiness CEOs and Bipartisan Policy Center Launch CEO Council on Sustainability and Innovation

 

Washington, D.C. – Leading agribusiness CEOs announced TODAY they are joining together with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to launch the CEO Council on Sustainability and Innovation to improve agriculture and food production sustainability.

Leaders of DuPont, Elanco, Kellogg Company and Land O’ Lakes joined the Council, which will research, collect and amplify innovative approaches in the agribusiness industry, over the next several months, to combat and adapt to the realities of increasing climate volatility, a growing population, and other threats to a stable food supply.

“In the next 35 years, experts anticipate demand for animal protein will climb by 60 percent as the population grows in size and affluence. Already demand for milk, eggs and poultry is outpacing anticipated expectations,” said Jeff Simmons, president, Elanco. “We can’t just rely on the public sector to address these challenges. The private sector must deliver innovative solutions that can help farmers sustainably meet our global food needs.” 

“Achieving a sustainable future food supply and responding to the challenges posed by climate change are dependent on our collective actions,” said John Bryant, chairman and ceo, Kellogg Company. “Kellogg and others in our industry have a role to play in sharing innovative solutions and inspiring others to progress along their own sustainability journey.”

“To feed a growing global population, the food and agriculture industry must continue to increase agricultural productivity while facing climate variability and resource constraints,” said Chris Policinski, president and ceo of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “By working together, we can be more effective and efficient partners to enable a sustainable and productive supply chain.”

“The cost and availability of food is an issue of critical importance to all Americans,” said Jason Grumet, president, BPC. “The council will help kickstart a more robust national conversation about what’s already being done to promote sustainable food production and what more needs to be done.”

Although there is extensive industry research into various sustainability practices, there is little collective understanding of the strategies being deployed, nor is there public appreciation of adaptation challenges, mitigation opportunities, and the importance of agriculture in what must be a global conversation. The council will highlight and promote these innovative efforts.

The council’s work will culminate in a public report to be released in 2016.

European Farmland Under Pressure

European Farmland under Pressure Due to Regulation and Diversion

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Jose Gomez Carrasco, executive sales manager for AGQ Labs and Technological Services based in Oxnard, is in charge of covering a large area that includes the U.S., Mexico and Central America. Noting global concern regarding how farmland is being used, particularly European farmland, Carrasco said, “There’s a growing population of around 150,000 or 170,000 new mouths every day to feed.” Carrasco said agricultural production on land designated for agricultural use in every country, worldwide, is being diverted to bio-ethanol, or bio-mass, or different renewable energy use, so the availability of agricultural products for food is diminishing.

Carrasco stated this progression needs to be moving in the opposite direction, “especially because there are other issues that are making production more challenging, such as water scarcity, soil erosion and the use and price of agro-chemicals, inputs and fertilizers, all of which are being controlled and monitored more and more.”

“The regulation of crop protection materials is intended to help everyone in the food supply chain,” he continued, “all the way from the grower to the consumer; however, sometimes these regulations can be quite burdensome.”

“In some cases regulations are not for the benefit of all,” Carrasco explained; “just for some. So in markets such as the European Union where the [maximum threshold] number of molecules registered has diminished from 1,000 to 300 or 400 in the last decade, we’re finding a lot of this regulation comes from Germany.” Carrasco said they are leaving a lot of farmers with no agro-chemicals in their arsenal, especially in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, all in southern Europe.