Most of us are comfortable with spending money with a mouse click, smartphone swipe or voice command, so the concept of blockchain shouldn’t seem all that foreign.

The constant compilation of encrypted transaction data (or blocks), timestamped and verifiable is both intriguing and intimidating as a new model for how business is done.

So where will precision dealers fit into the model as it is accepted and adopted in agriculture? This was a topic of conversation around the table at the winter meeting of the Independent Precision Ag Alliance, during which a diverse group of precision managers kicked around the concept of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Several potential entry points came out of the discussion, including the role precision dealers can play in the certification of data being collected in the field. As was noted, if data accuracy is the first chain in blockchain, having unusable data can torpedo the rest of the process.

Growing consumer interest in tracing the origins of ag products from the farm to the table was cited as a motivating factor for dealers to play a critical role in validation of field data. A few real-world examples were shared, included a 4,000 acre vineyard in the Pacific Northwest which provides a scannable label on each bottle to track where grapes were grown and a Tennessee cotton gin utilizing RFID labels to trace bales used in clothing production back to their origin.

Dealers agreed that more acres — especially those growing specialty crops — will drive the development of blockchain in ag, but getting to the point of being able to accurately trace the origins of small grains will be challenging.

Nevertheless, there are opportunities coming and progressive dealers are looking to position themselves to take advantage. As was mentioned during the discussion, dealers can play a critical link in the blockchain by preserving the value of customer data.

What role do you see yourself playing in blockchain?