Where is the steak? The Wyoming ranchs bet on Blockchain to track it down: salt: NPR

Bonita Carlson grew up on a ranch in northeastern Wyoming. Once his mother had gone and she helped with the laundry. Together with his clothes he threw in some of his father's shirts.

"When I opened the washing machines [I] I saw all of his records from the whole year of that veal harvest … it was destroyed in the washing machines," recalls Carlson.

He had accidentally thrown his father's book with his shirts, all the information on their cattle. For Carlson, this is a perfect example of why it is important to merge the old legacy of the agricultural sector with the emerging technology known as blockchain.

Blockchain "is an online global ledger, which lists every single transaction in the world, is immediately verified by other people using the system, which protects the privacy of people, but is transparent enough to allow supervision by anyone No group regulates it, so it is neutral and accessible to anyone with a computer, "according to our colleagues in addition to the All Tech Considered blog.

If Carlson did it then, it would mean that his father's records would still be intact, but the potential of the Blockchain goes further.

With blockchain, data like what livestock eats, what kind of vaccines he received, and if he's ever been ill will be available to anyone. So the Wyoming breeders who turn to this technology believe they can brand their meat as a superior.

"Here in Wyoming, you know, the cattle are out in large open pastures and eat the grass that is available, they drink water as it falls from the sky in artificial basins, we have no livestock in small batches," Carlson says.

Basically, this means cattle are treated well in Wyoming. But when they are packaged as beef, they have been mixed with meat from other farms, where livestock may not be so lucky.

Beefchain.io is the company that is getting blockchain by going to the ranch in Wyoming.

"The unique methodology that every ranch uses … what grass they feed, everything is lost and as a result breeders are making money on the dollar," says Beefchain.io CEO Rob Jennings.

So far it has not been worth it for Wyoming farmers to try to keep their beef at bay.

But Carlson and his girlfriend Drew Perrson are betting on the new technology. They just labeled 250 beef calves in their ranch with blockchain tags. The cost: $ 5 per tag. Using these tags and keeping their cattle separate through processing, they hope to increase their cattle's value from 10 to 20%.

The idea is that the data of that label would stay with the beef all the way down the shelf, so a consumer could scan a code and see the information. The international market requires this kind of transparency.

"Traceability is of the utmost importance to them [international markets] … food safety and protection against food fraud, packaged things are not what they say they are," says Jennings.

However, traceability already exists in agriculture and this is where some are wary of a new system. Dylan Yaga, a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is finalizing a document that he explores when it is appropriate to use blockchain. He said that industries must be careful to invest excessively in new technologies that do not have a proven competitive advantage.

"There is a high level of hype about the use of blockchains, but the technology is not well understood, it's not magical, it will not solve all the problems," says Yaga's draft.

For example, someone using the system should find a way to change data and agree on what would be a "valid transaction". "

" If you have a problem that seems to be solved by blockchain, you should definitely examine it, explore the technology, "says Yaga." But there are other technologies out there that have existed for much longer that could be used to solve the problem. same problem. "

In the livestock industry, many use RFID tags, attached to the ears of calves, RFID tags trace similar data points as does blockchain, but data can be manipulated later. of data points can be deleted or changed, errors must be noted with a correction.

In the end, Beefchain hopes that as soon as next year consumers can go to a store, scan a QR code and learn about the life they lead their meat before buying [19659002] And Carlson and Perrson are betting that their customers will want to do just that.

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