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Trial showcases the future for agricultural traceability

AgTrace Australia creates the Australian Agricultural Traceability Protocol to improve the accuracy, verifiability, and confidence in ESG reporting and accreditation.

28 February 2024

This media release was originially published by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry.

Farmers can be confident for the future of strong traceability standards across the board, thanks to the trial of data enabled traceability concepts and a new traceability protocol.

As part of the first of three trials, Food Agility partnered with industry to develop the Australian Agricultural Traceability Protocol (AATP). The protocol will create greater transparency of data shared across the supply chain to improve the accuracy, verifiability, and confidence in environmental, social and governance reporting and accreditation.

A key objective of this work is to encourage and empower farmers as land stewards and data owners to securely capture, reuse and share data across the supply chain in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

The first trial successfully used land management in the red meat sector as a case study to demonstrate what’s possible in digital and data enabled assurance for traceability.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Deputy Secretary Matt Koval said the protocol has been a success for red meat and it will be exciting to see continued progression throughout trials two and three.

“AgTrace Australia is working towards creating a cost-effective, scalable solution that demonstrates environmental sustainability from paddock to plate,” Mr Koval said.

“The benefits of Australian Agricultural Traceability Protocol trial are that it’s adaptable and scalable, meaning it is flexible for expansion.

“Permission-based data sharing means that users have data sovereignty and can determine for themselves how much data to share or not share. Thanks to the first trial, the potential for a cost effective, transparent, readily accessible protocol that brings a reduced risk of greenwashing and can be integrated into existing systems has been tested.

“This is a proof of concept – testing the development of a technical standard, it’s an exciting outcome that shows what is possible, but more work needs to be done.”

Food Agility CEO Dr Mick Schaefer said the protocol links data sources and is readily accessible.

“The protocol keeps data at its source and ‘pulls’ information when needed for specific purposes, with the consent of data owners and providers,” Dr Schaefer said. “The aim is to simplify existing systems, including those already used by farms, to enable a ‘tell us once approach’.”

Australia has a reputation for being a high standard producer of agricultural products. As consumer expectations regarding sustainability evolve, and export requirements change, proving these sustainability credentials is not just desirable, but imperative for continued market access.