Linking beef feedlots to consumers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Butcher stocking a display case with steaks
MEETING CONSUMERS: The link between retail and the ranch is getting more important. A beef-focused startup is working to digitize the supply chain for better transparency for consumers.
AgriWebb beef software adds Connect feature to provide supply chain key information.

Today's consumer wants to know more about where their food comes from — and in the case of beef, they want to know how those animals are raised and treated. The challenge is that this can be hindered by difficult-to-obtain data and information. AgriWebb, a real-time beef data collection system is working to change that with AgriWebb Connect.

The AgriWebb system launched in the U.S. in 2020 and has continued to add operations to the service. It allows a rancher to collect and store real-time information about cattle, including weights, feed and management details in a system that stores the data in the cloud.

"We've had a ton of success this year and seen incredible adoption," says Kevin Baum, CEO, AgriWebb. The business has grown globally to work with more than 8,500 ranches and 18 million head of cattle.

"The growth has been great, and that's the core of what we do, but we've always wanted to be beyond the ranch; and that's what's so exciting about AgriWebb Connect," he says. "We're taking those livestock enterprise management platforms into the supply chain, into the processing world."

The system is a supply chain management solution that's powered by real-time animal data. The platform provides marketers with an understanding of their supply chain at every level of detail, from macro-level comparisons of key performance indicators all the way down to unit-level farm reporting.

The key, Baum explains, is the ability for the supply chain to have access to individual animal histories, from conception to carcass. With that level of intelligence, supply chain players can make decisions and build trust with retailers, partners and consumers.

First customer on board

AgriWebb Connect comes on stream with an initial customer — Blade Farming, owned by ABP — is an integrated beef production farm business based in the United Kingdom. Baum says this initial relationship is a chance to explore how data from the ranch can be used to determine what's happening in the supply chain.

"We've got 75 supplying ranches feeding into the Blade Group giving them, for the first time in history, real-time access to the information on their supply chain," he says.

He explains that other beef production businesses collect supply chain information, but Baum explains that the information available is all legacy information. "It's immediately antiquated the moment they get it," he says.

Often, that information comes from calls buyers make to producers, which is dated. Blade Farming can access an AgriWebb dashboard showing key data on all the cattle being purchased. And access is easy.

Note, Baum explains, that farmers retain ownership of their data and control how the information is shared. But the value of the information to the business may give producers peace of mind for the future.

"The information value is massive [for Blade] in terms of what they can do and how quickly they can improve their business efficiencies," he says. "A lot of these are premium products with value-added programs, and they can prove what they're doing; prove it's worth that premium in the market."

To succeed, any system has to share monetary value across the supply chain, and Baum says that's happening for Blade Farm and its customers. "Buyers are putting pressure on processors that you have to find a way to do this — be net zero, etc.," he says. "We're willing to pay for it because the consumer is willing to pay. As long as there is value back to the rancher, they'll want to join these kinds of [programs] because it's a low-margin industry."

Integrated supply chain

AgriWebb Connect is facilitating the creation of an integrated supply chain, which many in the beef industry have pondered for some time. As for growth into the United States?

Baum notes he's in discussion with a number of beef buyers in North America to expand the service. And he notes that traditionally, the industry has been relatively opaque to the buyer and consumer — but that's changing. He points to one business that's grown from under 500 head under management to more than 50,000 because of its approach to the market, and it can't get to suppliers fast enough.

The market for beef is changing. Consumers want to know more about how that animal was raised — and they're willing to pay for it. AgriWebb Connect is one tool that can link producer to buyer to consumer. You can learn more at agriwebb.com/us/agriwebb-connect.

TAGS: Livestock
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