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Identity Preserved on the Internet

(1 June - Cropchoice News) -- A Kansas company says it can deliver "field to food" identity preserved (IP) tracing on the Internet. Cropverifeye.com, part of logistics company Routemaster, wants to be an important link between farmers and buyers looking for identity preserved harvests.

Cropverifeye's Jim Mock says "we provide a traceablility system" for IP production, independently confirming that the fine print in contracts is upheld. Mock says Cropverifeye's approach is better than identity preserved systems primarily based on farmers signing paperwork or strip tests at an elevator - "There's nothing wrong with trust me; but some say we don't want to get into that game.... traceablility will have a marketing advantage in the food business."

The company acts as an "auditor" for contracts. Participating farmers upload data about their crop that a contract requires: variety planted, location, inputs used, etc... An auditor comes on-farm and verifies that the producer's data is correct, satisfying - theoretically, since Cropverifeye is in its first year of operation - producer and buyer that the contract terms are upheld.

Inspector visits, nitty gritty detail, saved receipts and all, Cropverifeye argues it is an asset for farmers, who can depend on its "third set of eyes" to avoid contact problems. Cropverifeye will look into whatever the producer and buyer stipulate in their contract, for example verifying that planting and harvesting equipment are free from contamination by unwanted varieties or, says Mock, "we can even go back into seed production of you wanted to do."

Buyers - in Minneapolis, Tokyo, Rotterdam, or anywhere with an internet connection - can log in and check up on the progress of their contracts.

Cropverifeye says about 70-80% of its business this year is GMO related. The company has a relationship with strip test maker Strategic Diagnostics, although some of its users prefer laboratory (PCR) tests. Most participating producers are corn and soybean growers in the midwest. Most buyers are in the US with an increasing number of companies in Japan. Mock says confidentiality prohibits saying who; but "I can assure you there are some pretty big names in there."

Some producers, without contracts, are using the system to verify GMO-free production in hopes of capturing a premium. Mock says "There are about 4 different groups in the midwest that are doing that with soybeans... in the end they'll have an audit trail and will go to a buyer."

The system comes at a hefty cost: $250 plus $6 per acre verified, although this year promotions are being offered. The company recommends the latter costs be shared by buyer and producer.

SOURCE: Cropverifeye / Updated 6/2