AgGateway Traceability Working Group

AgGateway launched the cross-council Traceability Working Group in spring 2018, with the flexibility to address any traceability topic that is impacting and is of interest to member companies. Currently, the group has 4 working sub-groups to address specific traceability challenges: Food/Feed Safety; Crop Protection & Seeding; and Provenance. 

Participating companies must be AgGateway members, and are welcome to provide persons from all parts of the traceability value chain — ranging from non-technical or subject matter experts to technology experts such as computer programmers and electrical designers. For more information and to join, contact AgGateway Member Services at or (+1) 866-251-8618.

The sub-groups have been working to delineate use cases and next steps. Here are some descriptions of the sub-groups:

Food and Food Safety
A public focus on traceability is becoming increasingly important within agriculture, with (for example) calls for field-to-fork grain traceability.  From a retail perspective people want to know where their food came from and how it was grown.  From a commercial food safety perspective ingredient manufacturers not only want to know where the ingredients came from but also want to know the history of the physical containers  and in the case of grain, what was previously in the container, when was it last cleaned, who cleaned it, and the method of cleaning. This requirement is commonly called "one step forward and one step back" and is a primary tenant of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) passed in 2011. 

Crop Protection and Seeding
The subject of traceability also has applications in the agronomic aspects of crop products and also in the use of data collected during field operations for compliance reporting. In particular it has to do with the tracking of crop input products using exacting methods of identification to report what products have been applied where in a field and at what application rates. 

  • Seeding: This involves the identification of seeds down to the variety and level using identifiers defined by the manufacturers of third party reference databases.
  • Crop Protection: The same detailed tracking should also be applied to crop protection products where it may also be required to track to the level of batch or lot number. 

Another key to accurate tracking is where in the process the crop inputs products are identified and recorded. Recent standards developments in ISO 11783 and ADAPT make it possible to associate unique identifiers to products in field operations. More recent advancements in agricultural equipment now allow these products to be recorded at the point where they are transferred from supporting equipment to the application equipment. Although the data standards and equipment are becoming available in the market they have yet to be thoroughly tested in field conditions.

In the context of precision agriculture and crop production in general provenance refers to the total history of how a crop or commodity was produced.  Depending on the intended usage this could include all crop inputs and field operations and field operations properties as well as the soil and weather conditions under which it was grown. Use cases will be differentiated by the type of crop, growing region and associated cultural practices and the scope or starting and ending of the provenance chronology. The deliverable for each use case shall include a list of all provenance components and for each component a reference to the prevailing data standard and an example of the data. Provenance components that have yet to be associated with a published standard should be documented including recommendations for next steps.

Traceability Resources


AgGateway Wiki

Traceability Working Group

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