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AgTech Company News

Local ag tech firm launches digital platform to transform U.S. cotton industry

At first glance, the goal of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol seems daunting — to reduce the environmental footprint of the industry and make cotton farming more sustainable across the nation.

But, the digital platform usage is surprisingly simple. And it’s laid out, in a way, like TurboTax.

“It’s self-guided, and guides you through, step by step, with progression,” said Mark Pryor, CEO of The Seam. “When you’re keying in your information to do your taxes … they [TurboTax] make it simple. We’re doing that for farmers.”

The Seam — a Memphis-based software company that works with agribusinesses — announced the general release of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol on March 10. A digital platform, it provides farmers with a way to measure, improve, and showcase their environmental footprint, free of charge.

“We’re telling the story of sustainability, on behalf of a farmer,” Pryor said. “We’re providing the platform to capture the practices the farmer uses for his production of cotton, and his journey toward continuous improvement in that sustainability mission.”

Read more, via Memphis Business Journal.

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AgTech Company News

The Seam delivers U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol to digitize sustainability story for cotton farmers

MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 10, 2020 – The Seam, a leading provider of commodities trading and agriculture software solutions, today announced the general release of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, an integrated technology platform that allows U.S. cotton farmers to assess and verify production practices, environmental footprint and measurement of progress toward long-term sustainability goals.

The Trust Protocol was initiated by the National Cotton Council, which represents all U.S. cotton industry segments, including producers, ginners, warehousing, merchants, cooperatives, manufacturers and cottonseed. The Seam was named technology partner of the initiative in November 2018 by the National Cotton Council and the COTTON USA Sustainability Task Force. Mark Pryor, Chief Executive Officer at The Seam, was also named to the inaugural Board of Directors of the Trust Protocol in December 2019 as an advisor.

“We are honored to play a role in the development of technology that fuels the overall mission and message of U.S. agriculture sustainability,” said Pryor. “Working with the National Cotton Council, our goal was to provide a farmer-friendly platform for the cotton industry that promotes economic and environmental stewardship through quantifiable metrics and insights. We look forward to expanding our platform to other agricultural crops, including peanuts and soybeans, in the near future.”

Approximately 300 U.S. cotton producers have enrolled in the platform pilot that began in June 2019. The general release, which launches in April for the 2020 crop, will include a new bale registration and verification process that links actual cotton production to the sustainability profile of the grower. As a qualified data management partner with Field to Market, The Seam has also developed a new integration module for the Fieldprint® Platform, which allows science-based metrics and outcomes within a unified experience.

Through robust data metrics, analysis and insights, the Trust Protocol adds confidence and transparency throughout the supply chain – ensuring U.S. cotton remains the responsible choice for textile manufacturers, brands and retailers.

“The Seam has played a key role on the technology side of developing the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, a program designed to confirm and increase awareness of the fact that U.S. cotton producers are farming responsibly and striving for continuous improvement,” said Ken Burton, the Trust Protocol’s executive director. “The Seam helped immensely in the development of the Trust Protocol, and the company continues to refine the way data is utilized within this industry-leading initiative.”

About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol
The Trust Protocol, a collaborative effort of the U.S. cotton industry, is a new standard developed to foster a further awareness and reduction of U.S. cotton’s environmental footprint by enabling producers to assess their performance against specific sustainability goals. The Trust Protocol is governed by a multi-stakeholder board comprised of producers, ginners, merchandisers, cooperatives, textile manufacturers, retailers, conservation and civil society organizations, technical and agronomic scientists. For more information, including how to enroll, visit TrustUSCotton.org.

About The Seam
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, The Seam was founded by leading global agribusiness companies and specializes in commodity trading and agriculture software solutions. In December 2000, it began operating the world’s first online exchange for cotton trading. Since that time, the company has leveraged its trading and agriculture technology expertise to expand software services into other crops, including peanuts, soybeans, grains and dairy. As a proven leader in agtech, The Seam has cleared or processed more than $9 billion through its platforms. For more information, visit www.theseam.com.

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AgTech Company News

The Seam Sponsors GiveCamp Memphis

GiveCamp Memphis/Design for Good is a weekend-long event where professionals from designers, developers and database administrators to marketers and web strategists donate their time to provide solutions for nonprofit organizations. Since its inception in 2007, the national GiveCamp program has provided benefits to hundreds of nonprofits, worth millions of dollars of developer and designer time in services.

“After you and The Seam hosted our first-ever community outreach event in November, this was the biggest GiveCamp Memphis we’ve ever had, by far,” said GiveCamp Memphis organizer Lance Hilliard. “We’re on track to continue our growth toward our 2021 event! Additionally, Tammy’s talent for delivering details-aware results with a reliably kind and constructive disposition is nothing short of amazing. Her round-the-clock contributions this weekend enabled countless stakeholders to perform at their absolute best.”

The Seam was honored to sponsor such an incredible event for our city. And huge thanks to our own Tammy Sullivan, who spent the entire weekend serving and helping to make a difference in the lives of others!

GiveCamp Memphis | The Seam
Categories
AgTech Cotton

More Than 1 Million Bales of Cotton Traded

With much of the trading season ahead of us, the “million-bale” milestone was reached today on The Seam‘s marketplace for U.S. cotton.

Technology continues to play a critical role in facilitating trade between buyers and sellers during fast-moving markets.

One Million Bales of Cotton Traded on The Seam
Categories
AgTech Company News Cotton Sustainability

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Names Directors and Advisors

The inaugural Board of Directors and Advisors have been named for the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol (Trust Protocol), a new standard developed to help the U.S. cotton production sector further reduce its footprint by enabling producers to assess their performance against specific sustainability goals. Through robust data inputs, the Trust Protocol will add confidence throughout the supply chain – positioning U.S. cotton as the responsible choice for mills and retailers.

Directors representing the raw cotton industry include:

  • Producers – Matt Coley (Georgia); Ted Schneider (Louisiana); Shawn Holladay (Texas); and Aaron Barcellos (California); 
  • Ginner – David Blakemore (Missouri); 
  • Marketing Cooperative – Hank Reichle (Mississippi);
  • Merchant – Steve Dyer (Tennessee);
  • Cottonseed – Fred Serven (Tennessee);
  • Manufacturer – Jim Martin (North Carolina); 
  • Brands/Retailers are Liza Schillo, Levi Strauss & Co., and Joe Little, Tesco;
  • Suzy Friedman, Environmental Defense Fund; Melissa Ho, the World Wildlife Fund; Marty Matlock, the University of Arkansas; and Garry Bell, formerly with Gildan. 

Trust Protocol advisors include:  Jesse Daystar, Cotton Incorporated; Andy Jordan, Jordan Consulting; Marc Lewkowitz, Supima; Mark Pryor, The Seam; and Mike Quinn, Frontier Spinning Mills.

For more information, visit: http://www.cotton.org/news/releases/2019/trusbd.cfm

Categories
AgTech Sustainability

From Dirt to Shirt & Seed to Shelf: The Importance of Sustainability in Every Part of the Supply Chain

By: Mark Pryor, Chairman and CEO at The Seam

From dirt to shirt and seed to shelf, The Seam acknowledges that traceability and transparency in agriculture production is essential to each step in the value chain.

With innovations in agtech and the implementation and adoption of data standards throughout the supply chain, consumers are now able to trace the source of the agricultural products they purchase providing assurance through digital accountability. Technology has become more accessible, capable and affordable, which lowers the barrier to entry for farming operations to embrace digitization that will ultimately convey their story of continuous improvement in sustainable farming.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE?

Essentially, it is the ability to produce enough agricultural products to meet present needs without endangering the environment, public health or economic profitability. If food and ag products are not produced with care, future generations of farming will be at risk. The big idea behind sustainable farming is to minimize one’s environmental footprint and enforce good stewardship of the land and natural resources.

To accomplish such a lofty goal, leaders in agriculture continue to develop more ecological solutions in production and trade. Unlike industrialized farming, sustainable farms utilize methods such as crop rotation, pasture-raised livestock, conservative tilling and precision agriculture to assure that the environment is protected, and the process is as natural as possible.

If one part of the production process is not performed using sustainable practices, the entire supply chain is at risk. From planting to harvesting and ginning to classing – or shelling to warehousing – each component of agriculture production must follow specific practices for the end result to be considered more sustainable.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

There are many innovative solutions in agtech that work in concert to enhance sustainable farming. From evaluating soil health to managing water infrastructure, technology provides the tools that help maintain healthy yields with more precision and efficiency. Drones and other equipment are now able to conduct data analyses, and GPS-enabled tractors help plant crops more precisely and efficiently. Technology allows farmers to streamline their processes and care for the environment during production.

The importance of upholding sustainable agricultural practices comes down to simply caring for the environment. No matter what crop you’re farming, sustainable practices facilitate economic profitability and create social and communal equity. Small decisions lead to large improvements in farming practices, and technology forges the undiscovered path that leads to worldwide solutions. While the journey is still in its adolescence, developments in agritech are already cultivating better crops and building a more sustainable future.

In our data-driven landscape where consumers can compare products and make informed decisions about their food and clothing purchases, we can expect to see an explosive growth in technologies that advance traceability, transparency and agriculture sustainability.

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AgTech

What is National Teach Ag Day?

National Teach Ag Day takes place each year on September 19. This day is designed to encourage others to teach school-based agriculture and recognize the important role that ag teachers play in our schools and communities. Every year, the National Teach Ag Campaign hosts a live webcast event somewhere in the country in conjunction with the day. National Teach Ag Day is a part of the National Teach Ag Campaign, an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Who is it for?

National Teach Ag Day is for anyone who wants to celebrate school-based agricultural education, share the story of ag education’s importance and effectiveness in the United States, and encourage students to consider careers as agricultural educators. Anyone who wants to participate can find a variety of resources to help them talk about ag education at www.naae.org/teachag.

What happens on National Teach Ag Day?

Agricultural educators and education advocates will engage in a variety of activities to celebrate and promote the career of ag education. These activities may include capitol rallies, special lessons, community activities and more. The Teach Ag website is a clearinghouse of resources to help teachers and advocates, and free resources include a video, suggested teaching activities, games and giveaway items.

Ag education and The Seam

At The Seam, we believe that ag education is crucial to the future of our industry. We are dedicated to advancing ag education, focusing on how technology can and should provide trusted data to prove sustainability practices are being followed, ensure food safety and enhance traceability for global trade. The future of our farms rests in the hands of the men and women who will lead after us. And it’s our job to provide the resources and tools now to equip these individuals for the future.

Our CEO and Chairman, Mark Pryor, is involved in the ACSA International Cotton Institute, has presented at numerous conferences, serves on the board at Agricenter International and has formed partnerships with the National Cotton Council, American Peanut Council, Greater Memphis IT Council and more, to promote the importance of ag education. It’s our job as agricultural professionals to share knowledge and teach students a wide variety of skills, including science, math, communications, leadership, management and technology, to help them find their niche in the ag industry.

To offer more insight into the ag industry, we are launching a new AgEd blog series. Through this series, we will create an open dialogue for conversation and offer insight into new industry developments, share what we’re currently learning and more. Look out for this new series in the weeks to come!

Information in this post was adapted from the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Categories
AgTech Sustainability

From ‘dirt to shirt’ — local tech tracks cotton’s origins to where it ends up

As consumers want to know more about the origin of products, a Memphis organization is using cutting-edge technology to uncover details about one of the Mid-South’s foundational crops: cotton.

In June of this year, The Seam, a provider of trading and technology services to agribusinesses, teamed up with the National Cotton Council — also Memphis based — to roll out a blockchain-based technology that will allow cotton to be traced back to the land where it was grown.

And, the technology can even give details on how the crop was produced.

“There’s an increased need for traceability and transparency in the supply chain,” said Mark Pryor, The Seam’s chairman and CEO. “And in cotton, the brands and the retailers — the Levis and the Brooks Brothers of the world — are demanding more traceable, transparent information throughout the supply chain.”

Read more via the Memphis Business Journal

Categories
AgTech Company News Peanuts

The Seam Powers New Revolution of Peanuts Coming to the Delta

Delta Peanut selects The Seam Commodity Management Platform for U.S. operations

MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 18, 2019 – The Seam, a leading provider of trading and agribusiness software solutions, today announced that it will be working with Delta Peanut, LLC, a new peanut shelling operation based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and the first shelling facility to open in the area in more than 50 years. The company has entered into a multi-year agreement with The Seam and its peanut commodity management platform.

The Seam’s platform is designed with foundational technology such as document digitization, real-time data for decisioning and embedded integrations with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal-State Inspection Service, among others.

“Launched in 2016, our cloud-based platform has been transformational for participating shelling organizations, buying point businesses, manufacturers and peanut farmers,” said Mark Pryor, Chairman and CEO at The Seam. “We are thrilled to have Delta Peanut join our expanding ecosystem. With a state-of-the-art shelling operation right in our backyard, there are immense opportunities to collaborate and innovate further.”

The platform delivers a digital hub for shelling organizations to interconnect with affiliate businesses and producers, providing the real-time status and value of stock, contracting, grading data integration and logistics management. Additionally, insight dashboards, position reporting, warehouse receipt management and system-guided workflows create streamlined processes, which result in more productive and cost-effective operations.

Delta Peanut has already planted the 2019 crop, with approximately 30,000 acres of peanuts in active production.  Three buying points will be operational to receive and store the crop. Components for the new shelling plant are currently under construction. Plant operations are targeted to commence in the first or second quarter of 2020.  In the interim, Delta Peanut will construct a warehouse, several drying sheds, and a shipping and distribution facility on the property in Jonesboro.

“The Seam is going to provide us with a solid technology foundation as we continue to build our infrastructure and plan for the future,” said Tommy Jumper, CEO at Delta Peanut. “There is a critical need for modern, integrated systems that provide transparency, interoperability and real-time data for decision-making. As we grow – adding buying points and possibly in-shell lines – it is comforting to know that The Seam’s extensible platform will grow with us.”


In the news:

Categories
AgTech

How to Develop and Improve Industry Standards

Technology is growing at an exponential rate, and it’s important for industries to adapt their standards accordingly in order for companies and organizations to work with one another efficiently.