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Project creates standards for grain traceability

Grain producers and handlers in the U.S. will soon have the tools necessary to track harvested grain, according to AgGateway, a nonprofit consortium of businesses that serve the agriculture industry.

corn-harvest-combine
Courtesy United Soybean Board

Grain producers and handlers in the U.S. will soon have the tools necessary to track harvested grain, according to AgGateway, a nonprofit consortium of businesses that serve the agriculture industry.

A collaborative effort by AgGateway members, known as Commodity Automation for Rail and Truck (CART), will create standards for grain-handling information management.

“The grain industry has not been able to efficiently track harvested grain – from harvester to grain cart, grain cart to truck, truck to elevator, and elevator to processor,” said Phil Kubesh, IT manager at Vita Plus Corporation and chair of AgGateway’s Grain & Feed Council. “These new standards pave the way for growers to much more efficiently transact and manage that valuable data.”

Standardizing communication

These data management capabilities will address traceability and the regulatory needs of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

According to AgGateway, CART “expands and looks to implement standardized messages from the widely adopted AgXML standards for rail, barge and truck grain transport. These standards serve as the basis for electronic transaction for bills of lading, commodity movement, contracts, contract pricing, quality certificates, weight certificates, rail rates electronic exchange, biofuels support and settlements.”

Kubesh said AgGateway teams draw on and tie together existing standards where possible, and collaborate with other organizations as needed. For CART, standards organizations such as the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Open Applications Group (OAGi) and the United National Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) have resources and activities that the team is drawing on in completing the standards.

An AgGateway spokesperson said much of the teams’ work has to do with the ability for different systems or sections of the supply chain to “talk” to one another.

“If there are different software systems being used for various applications, but these systems aren’t using common standards, then communication cannot be seamless,” the spokesperson said. “It’s like your computer not being able to talk to your iPhone. But when you have ‘eConnectivity’ – seamless connection in the transfer of information – then it is much easier to access and manage data.”

Therefore, the seamless transfer of information allows for traceability and FSMA compliance reporting.

Completion expected by June

The CART team plans to complete the standards work on the project by June. CART was launched in 2015 “in response to the needs of growers for more effective electronic data exchange at the interfaces between harvesting equipment and transport vehicles, through delivery to a grain elevator or storage bin,” according to a press release.

The CART team includes participants from Ag Connections, Ag Leader, AGCO, AgIntegrated, BASF, Bayer CropScience, CLAAS, CNH Industrial, Conservis, Crop IMS, Digi-Star, DTN/The Progressive Farmer, F4F Agriculture, Farmobile, GROWMARK, Heartland Co-op, Insero, John Deere, Land O' Lakes, MapShots, OAGi, Praxidyn, ProAg, Purdue University/OADA, Raven, Software Solutions Integrated, SST Software, Syngenta, Texas A&M University, Topcon, Trimble, Vita Plus, XS Inc, Wysocki and ZedX.

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