It’s tempting to reduce blockchain to a buzzword, but developments suggest its importance to farmers and agriculture is imminent.
“We’re right at the end of the hype cycle—and are about to enter the happening cycle,” says Elena Dumitrascu, co-founder of TerraHub, a blockchain education, consulting and accelerator company. “When I think about how blockchain could be applied in agriculture, the first thing I think about is increased profit margins.”
Blockchain enables all entities to work on a shared digital ledger, so it reduces waste and could help farmers get paid sooner, she explains.
“For farmers, now is the time to wrap your business mind around the opportunity,” Dumitrascu says. “Understand from start to finish, what happens in your business, how do you grow the business and how do you get paid faster.”
Through a methodology created by TerraHub, Dumitrascu describes what farmers should do today to prepare for the arrival of blockchain:
Evaluate your procurement process. This includes selecting vendors and technology tools to purchase supplies and how you close those contracts. “Research what type of network marketplaces exist today to let you buy or sell anywhere in the world. Whether you do or not, that’s not the point—just know what you have access to,” she says.
Know your operation’s entire cycle. “From order delivery to how you produce your products, and then deliver those products, have eyes on the entire cycle,” she says.
Assess your accounting process. “Confirm you’re getting paid for everything you’ve done and you’ve collected from everyone,” she says.
As a starting point to adopting blockchain, Dumitrascu says farmers should have a series of conversations.
“Reach out to your best customer, and reach out to your best vendor. Ask them if they can start working with you on a shared system. You don’t have to call that a blockchain, but it starts the approach,” she says.