The 12 Days of CropTrak – 2022 Edition

Day 1 – SISC Calculator 2.0 Powered by CropTrak!


2022 saw the release of the first SISC Metrics Calculator powered by CropTrak, continuing the evolution of the partnership with the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC). This version of the calculator also supports both Walmart’s Gigaton Energy/GHG reporting, and several of the Sustainability Consortium’s THESIS KPIs that are aligned with SISC.

Free to growers, this calculator makes it easy for aggregators to visualize the results of their grower network across any of the eight metrics supported by SISC including:

  • Applied Water
  • Energy/GHG
  • Food Loss
  • Habitat & Biodiversity
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorous
  • Simple Irrigation Efficiency
  • Soil & Organic Matter

 For more information about SISC and CropTrak’s role in helping specialty crop growers and aggregators follow the data, go here.

Day 2 – Food Safety – Data Turns Supply Chain Chaos into Opportunity


At CropTrak we believe solutions are in the data. Over the last decade, we have worked with food and agriculture companies to eliminate information silos and unlock new value across supply chains that include over 70 crops in 70 countries. Real-time, collaborative, transparent data is the key to solving the systemic supply chain issues plaguing our safe and sustainable production of food.

CropTrak customers have used our product to help them do just that and uncover opportunities in their supply chain and remove risk.

Day 3 – Legacy System Modernization


Did you know that CropTrak  successfully helped customers migrate away from old mainframe systems (AS400, etc.), manual data auditing, and take advantage of CropTrak’s flexible architecture to adapt & extend their CropTrak implementation enabling them to retire their old technology and be entirely in the cloud?

Customers also are implementing more efficient work processes to ready themselves for their future. CropTrak modules integrate with the rest of their environment, like SAP, by being a single centralized data hub.

Day 4 – USDA Climate Smart Grants


CropTrak is thankful for the opportunity to participate with organizations like:

  • International Fresh Produce Associations (IFPA)
  • University of Florida
  • Measure to Improve
  • Bland Farms
  • Calavo

in several Smart Climate projects selected by the USDA

CropTrak is the technology engine behind the solutions teams looking to “‘test-drive’ technologies that are climate-smart to assist in the fresh fruit, vegetable, and floral industry to help in alleviating the climate crisis as well as gather important and meaningful data that will enable the industry to participate in the Green Economy.

Day 5 – Next Generation Seed & Chemical Companies


As our customers look to new and innovative ways to increase profitability and decrease costs CropTrak has joined in the effort through adaptive workflows influenced by our customers in the bio-technology space. These customers are leading the industry in finding ways to reduce inputs and add to the ag industry’s sustainability initiatives, all while helping growers manage costs and increase yield.

Look for future announcements about the great work that our customers are doing to address these challenges.

Day 6 – Active Industry Participation


We realize that active participation and collaboration with other companies is critical to helping the industry become more efficient and continue to feed the world.  One company cannot do it themselves and we constantly open the door to working with others to support our customers.

Our contributions to the agricultural industry include active participation with organizations like the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA), Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC), Western Growers Alliance, and the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA). CropTrak has members sitting on boards on some of these organizations as well as lending our technical expertise to help further the efforts of each of these groups.

Day 7 – New Challenges Means New Opportunities!


We love having the opportunity to have customers who are always pushing the capabilities of CropTrak, challenging our team to bring new features to the platform. Whether it is one of our great wine grape customers wanting to extend into invoicing their customers or one of our biological customers wanting a way to automate how they develop a sampling protocol – CropTrak’s team of technology experts enabled the capability as a core component of the platform. 

We would love to see what challenges you have in your world, since they may be the next addition to the CropTrak platform. 

Day 8 – Integration


CropTrak has evolved to connect multinational food companies of all sizes to facilitate collaboration and make their supply chains more transparent. CropTrak now helps collect, manage and report data in eight languages, 70 countries and for more than 70 different types of crops, enabling large companies and their growers to look at multi-year outcomes to improve production. 

One of the ways that we are able to help our customers is through integration with technologies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Leaf Agriculture which better enable CropTrak to efficiently centralize supply chain data.

Through this integration CropTrak has been able to simplify the process of merging farm machine data into ag data that helps stakeholders identify and address systemic supply chain problems. 

Day 9 – Importing Data Accurately


Microsoft Excel is not going away anytime soon.  The challenge is that Microsoft Excel and CSV file formats are some of the only true universal formats that almost every tool writes and reads, including most modern tools and the oldest of the legacy tools.  However, being able to import these formats does not mean the data is acceptable for use and making it easy for users to import them is even harder.   

So CropTrak made this easier by allowing customers who collect data to also import data thru several methods, including importing data directly into multiple forms at once or into repeating sets in a form.  To prevent bad data in your decision-making processes, the importers treat the external data as if it was being entered into the form manually, verify by the data against form rules.   

Add a form or change a form, no worries. The import tool automatically builds validation in real-time, so it always reflects the current state of the form, worklist, and binder.  Every rule, validator, and calculator will execute for every form entry and direct the user to the problem items that needs attention.  All without requiring a dedicated admin tool.     

Never has legacy and 3rd party data been so easy to add to CropTrak, while being assured its usable for decision making, since every form rule has been applied to assure it is fit for purpose.  

How Data Will Turn Supply Chain Chaos Into Opportunity for Ag Retailers and Growers

By Aaron Hutchinson, Co-Founder and CEO, CropTrak

Disruption is the new normal in the supply chain. The bigger question is what we do about it.

I recently attended the PACE Executive Forum in Kansas City, MO, where I was honored to speak with agribusiness leaders about the challenges that continue to impact sustainable food production. Not surprisingly, supply chain volatility was a hot topic.

Lara Sowinski, Group Editor for CropLife Media Group, was quick to point out in opening remarks that just when we thought the supply chain would get back to normal, new problems cropped up. The most recent? Backed-up grain barges sitting idle on the Mississippi thanks to record low water levels, another Covid-lockdown at a Chinese port, and the looming threat of a railroad strike. All added to the impacts of rising inflation, sky-high energy and fuel costs, crippling labor shortages, and ongoing geopolitical tensions in Russia and China.

The question is no longer when will the supply chain stabilize but how can we best prepare for the next unforeseen catastrophe in the future?

At CropTrak we believe solutions are in the data. Over the last decade, we have worked with food and agriculture companies to eliminate information silos and unlock new value across supply chains that include over 70 crops in 70 countries. Real-time, collaborative, transparent data is the key to solving the systemic supply chain issues plaguing our safe and sustainable production of food.

At PACE, we explored the idea that data and crop production are now one – and everyone along the supply chain is even more tightly connected through data.

Data Requirements Remaking Every Supply Chain

After years of delay, the FDA has finally dropped the hammer on key data requirements regulated under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). On Nov. 7 they finalized FMSA’s rule on traceability requirements applicable to high-risk food crops and products. The rule will go into effect January 2023 and food companies will have two years to comply.

The new traceability rules mandate a 24-hour digital response after a food safety incident. The goal is real-time, food-safety data available on demand and able to trace any item in the supply chain both forwards and backwards. My father’s old three-ring spiral notebook will no longer suffice as “record-keeping” on today’s farm. Food companies must have at their fingertips a digital record of everything that happened to a food item in their ingredient list, from the grocery store it was sold at to the farmer that produced it, transportation, processing, inputs applied, and many other activities involved along the way.

While a massive change, it’s also an opportunity for agribusiness partners to help their farmer customers maintain a digital history of their production records, including chemical applications, water use, and soil management. In addition, farmers will inevitably lean on their trusted advisors for technical help, relying on retailers to understand and see through the noise and confusion of this transition and guide them in the choices and changes they need to make to ensure their crops can make it to the customer with the required data attached.

But if we just think about how data requirements will impact the beginning of the supply chain, we’re missing the big picture of opportunities the data revolution is generating for the agricultural industry.

Food companies not only have the new FSMA data requirements to deal with, if they’re publicly traded they must now meet mandatory environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure requirements detailing their climate-related risks. Think about the value of all that data these companies are now mandated to collect and record to proof-point their ESG impact.

But even more so than just meeting disclosure rules, this data holds value as the key to unlocking new decision-making capabilities to meet their ESG goals in the first place.

If a food company can use data to reveal food loss patterns in shipping, crop production, harvest, or at any point along the supply chain, and then eliminate that loss, it’s an immediate ESG win. Less food loss means less land used to fulfill their production needs, improving key climate-risk-related metrics like water and nitrogen use. It also means that the value of those ingredients that do come across the scale are more valuable as a percentage of the whole, profitability that can be shared.

They can also turn this data into key differentiation in the marketplace to engage consumers in new and meaningful ways. Take the produce guy selling watermelons, he starts wrapping his melons in paper and now he can say ‘hey now I’m Global Gap, now I’m climate-smart, now I’m regenerative.’ That’s a labeling opportunity. For a food company it takes them right back to needing data and once again, the value associated with that data makes the product more valuable.

You may be asking: “What does it mean for growers and ag retailers?”

Ultimately, all these new regulations stacked on top of supply chain disruptions represent risk. For food companies – who are our ultimate customers, they will have no choice but to build more collaborative and transparent supply chain partnerships than they ever have had before. Information silos will have to be overcome.

I see it as a shift in the balance of power, long held at the top of the supply chain, to creating an equal playing field that includes all the data stakeholders including growers, ag retailers, and coops.

In a not-too-distant future, a crop won’t be useful to a food company without a complete data package.

What we will begin to see is a table of crop prices and right next to it, a table of data prices linked to those crops. And in the very near future, we’re not going to be able to ship a crop without digital data associated with it. We simply won’t be able to get it to market. Nothing will move in the supply chain without data.

Between the supply chain, new regulations and market competition, we are sitting at a crossroads – business as usual and hope for the best? Or, embrace data technology, build new collaborations and uncover new models of success? I vote for data.