Shared Visibility of Data Provides Value to Everybody,
NIAA News Release, February 19, 2019---The National Institute for Animal Agriculture has chosen the theme Animal Agriculture; Innovation & Technology; Engaging the Consumers for its 2019 Annual Conference April 9-11th in Des Moines, Iowa.
One of the greatest challenges facing agriculture is improving the consumer’s perception of it. Another is communicating how innovation and technology are constantly being developed to help animal agriculture improve animal health, welfare, sustainability, traceability and more.
Blockchain technology may be where the two concepts converge. It’s a leading-edge, innovative technology which is revolutionizing how the food supply chain can be tracked from farm or ranch to processing to distribution to the consumer’s table. It may also provide a transparency in agriculture which can give consumers a new level of authenticity on where their food comes from.
With 30 years of working in technology targeting the needs of retailers and consumers, NIAA Annual Conference Speaker David E. McCarty, Consumer Products Industry Executive Consultant with IBM™ says that the demand drivers of today’s consumer are very different.
“Consumers want to know is it local? Is it sustainably raised? How was it treated? The authenticity of that information has to be something they can trust,” says McCarty. “The question is how do we leverage technology to transfer this data in a traceable way so today’s consumer knows that what they buy is aligned with their social mores.”
Part of what makes Blockchain special, according to McCarty, is that the data is immutable. Once entered, it can’t be changed. “You know it is accurate because it can’t be tampered with,” says McCarty. “Combine that with certifications from standard regulatory bodies and we have the recipe for a trusted relationship with the end consumer.”
“Consumers are driving the value of knowing more about the products they want, and they vote with their wallet,” says McCarty. “We are seeing fundamental shifts in what they purchase. With alternative meat products and other disruptions coming into the marketplace, it is important to establish that trust.”
Blockchain technology has been applied to many business problems for which it has not been ideally suited. But McCarty sees the use of it in the case of animal agriculture as the perfect fit. “In this case, Blockchain is the right solution to animal ag traceability and transparency,” he says. “You have lack of trust, lack of visibility, and inefficiencies between diverse parts of the supply chain, all of which lend themselves well to a Blockchain solution.”
One Health — A Common Language
Click here to watch the full 3:09 video
Why so much gets lost in translation between consumers and animal health –and how one company fosters the
Antibiotics use, food safety and sustainability. All are important to consumers, and all relate to animal welfare.
Dr. Judson Vasconcelos, head of Merck Animal Health Veterinary and Consumer Affairs, says farmers and
ranchers increasingly receive questions about these topics and how food animals are raised. That’s not surprising,
as less than two percent of the nation’s population is employed in agriculture.
“One of the things we’ve noticed is that we don’t really have a common language or different tools that can help
them to have that conversation that helps them explain what they do,” Vasconcelos says. “There’s a lot of
information out there, and it’s confusing.” That’s why Merck Animal Health developed important resources for
both producers and consumers, to help translate production practices. A key point of information: antibiotics use.
Click here for the full press release
Downloadable tools have been developed to support producers engaging around antibiotic use. A powerful guide covering 4 tips for advocating around antibiotics is available for individual or organizational/association use, and a library of antibiotic-focused social media images are also available. These images can be easily integrated into social platforms of all kinds to amplify one of the most important health issues of our time, using #antibioticresistance and #onehealth as key hashtags. These tools were funded in part by the beef checkoff.
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