National Pork Board Goes Blockchain To Enhance Responsible Pig Farming

Blockchain, News | March 19, 2019 By:

The National Pork Board is partnering with Ripe Technology to pilot blockchain technology use in the US pork industry.

The National Pork Board is a program sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service whose purpose is to provide consumer information, perform industry-related research, and promote pork as a food product. Its activities are funded by a mandatory commodity checkoff program, which requires hog producers to pay a small percentage-based fee each time an animal is sold.

Ripe is altering the trajectory of the food system through blockchain technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). It is building a transparent digital food supply chain that harness quality food data to create the “Blockchain of Food – an unprecedented food quality network that maps the food journey to answer what’s in our food, where it comes from, and what has happened to it.” With funding support from both Maersk Ventures and Relish Works, Ripe has offices in both San Francisco and New York City.

Under the partnership, Ripe will enable an ecosystem that will allow pork producers to monitor, evaluate and continuously improve their sustainability practices based on the We Care framework – six defined ethical principles guiding the US pork industry. Launched in 2008, these principles provide industry standards in food safety and public health, animal well-being, protecting the environment, and improving the quality of life for the industry’s people and communities. The standards also serve as the pork industry’s commitment to continuous improvement.

The National Pork Board said that it partnered with Ripe to demonstrate to its producers the value of having a responsible supply chain by consolidating sustainability data and activities gathered on the Ripe platform, which will highlight how pork producers create a sustainable pork production environment.

“The growing demand across the entire food supply chain – including end consumers – is to “Know Your Food,” said Raja Ramachandran, co-founder of Ripe. “The platform generates powerful levels of transparency and trust by enabling collaboration and consensus of data and activities within food systems. Through blockchain, customers like the National Pork Board can enable its organization and members to create shared, immutable trusted records that address critical food issues such as sustainability, quality, traceability, waste and fraud.”

Dr. Brett Kaysen, assistant vice president of sustainability at the National Pork Board, said that over the last 50 years, America’s pig farmers have followed the We Care principles to produce a product that has become increasingly sustainable using 75 percent less land, 25 percent less water, and 7 percent less energy.

“We look forward to working with to use blockchain technology to record proof points through a system that can benchmark performance while increasing transparency of the entire pork value chain,” Kaysen said.