Remember the days when a man's word was his bond and a handshake sealed a deal? That trust seems to be noticeably lacking today. But a new company called CropVerifeye.com is helping restore it.
The trademark of Routemaster Inc.'s crop and grain verification system, CropVerifeye.com has a worldwide database that links farmers, buyers and processors in a voluntary real-time audit system to track and verify adherence to predetermined procedures.
Routemaster, Inc., based in Mahomet, IL, is a major supplier of administrative support systems for seed companies. It started CropVerifeye.com in 1999 to provide solutions to a changing seed industry. Distinguishing GM (genetically modified) from non-GM oilseeds and grain triggered the need for a verification system, says Jim Mock of Wichita, KS, the lead eye with the firm. Production and sale of identity-preserved crops, with yet unimagined traits, however, will be the future, he says. Mock formerly worked with Hybri-Tech, the hybrid wheat production company owned by Monsanto.
Daryl Strouts, Kansas Crop Improvement Association executive director, Manhattan, KS, says knowing every step of the way that the production and handling has not been compromised is the payback of an auditing system. His association has a 10-year history in tracking identity-preserved production. Its counterparts in the U.S. and abroad also offer identity-preserved services.
"It's far better," Strouts says, "to verify that the production started with certified seed (with the desired traits) planted on clean ground and trace it through to the end user, than to take a single test before it's loaded onto the boat."
Participants in CropVerifeye.com set parameters of production or desired end product. In turn, its auditors monitor to make sure that the outlined guidelines are followed.
A CropVerifeye.com grower keys in field data, including information about varietal purity, fertility, weed and insect control. Crops now in the system include: soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, tomatoes, wheat, barley, peanuts and potatoes. Field auditors, in turn, validate all information.
Field practices, from seeding rate to fertility, are authenticated and the field is flagged with a CropVerifeye.com logo. Equipment and storage units also may be inspected and tagged. Contract buyers have access to the information with permission from participating farmers.
"In today's environment, no one intends to be dishonest," Mock says. "CropVerifeye.com gives authenticity. It takes the weight off of a grower's mind. He can point to the electronic trail with confidence."
Keeping track of the volumes of instant access data falls to VantagePoint Network, a joint venture between Farmland Industries, Growmark and Deere & Co. For testing, CropVerifeye. com has developed a preferred partnership with Strategic Diagnostics, Inc.
All participants pay a basic Internet access fee and costs for field services are shared. For further information, contact Mock at 316-689-4212 or access the company's Internet site at cropverifeye.com.