The Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) cooperative announced yesterday, September 25, a joint project with food technology and blockchain startup ripe.io to pilot blockchain technology.
Ripe.io's goal is to increase transparency in the food supply chain through the use of blockchain technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). In alignment with this mission, the DFA and ripe.io pilot aims to give dairy consumers confidence in the sources of their food by providing data transparency for this particular food chain. The pilot will use data from a group of DFA member farms and a DFA manufacturing plant.
David Darr, vice president of sustainability and member services at DFA, said in a press release that he wants DFA dairy farmers to "be on the forefront" of the application of blockchain technology within agriculture. "For now, our goal is to evaluate the technology and explore how it might benefit our supply chain," he said.
Blockchain technology like ripe.io, said Darr, "gives consumers real-time data, which can really help increase trust and confidence about food production from start to finish."
Food producers and agricultural organisations alike are responding to increased consumer pressure to clarify and report the ethical and safe origins of foods. Blockchain technology's inherent features are seen by many in the food industry as a means to meet consumer expectations.
Indeed, the DFA and ripe.io pilot and partnership is not the first such food and agriculture collaboration to emerge recently.
In July 2018, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced a blockchain trial to monitor regulatory compliance in a UK slaughterhouse. The FSA has also taken an active part in developing blockchain technology more widely, forming a cross-industry collaboration, the Food and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) group, in 2017.
Europe's Carrefour food retailer is also tracing food from farm to table. Walmart, an early adopter of blockchain, this week advanced its blockchain use significantly; it has issued deadlines for its suppliers of leafy greens to join the Food Trust blockchain platform.