Software helps ag retailers promote sustainable practice

A new tech platform by Land O’Lakes Sustain helps farmers show the sustainability improvements they’re making and helps consumers better understand the impact that their food choices have on the environment.

The TruTerra Insights Engine will enable farmers to work though options with their agricultural retailer at the beginning of the growing season to help them understand how their choices will affect their farm’s environmental footprint.

In Canada, ag retailers G-Mac and Blairs are using the program.

Matt Carstens of Land O’Lakes Sustain said the production data that TruTerra aggregates will enable companies that buy and process agricultural commodities to describe the sustainability stories of end products to consumers.

“There is a lot of ways we can do that with every downstream company, whether it’s in food, fuel, fibre, feed,” Carstens said.

“We’ll talk about it in different ways, but our job is to make sure the data is there to transparently communicate it in a way that is good for those downstream companies.”

Production information will be entered into TruTerra at the convenience of the ag retailer or farmer throughout the growing season.

“It doesn’t have to be entered until at the end of the season, when yield and everything else is known,” Carstens said.

“That’s when everything takes shape in terms of what was planned, how the journey ended up, and then aggregate that reporting on how everyone did for that ag retailer or ag retailers in the program.”

He said the information is aggregated in a way that protects the privacy of participating producers.

Production information, including inputs, crop varieties, seeding rates, rainfall and tillage, are documented, but the TruTerra Insights Engine is not a software package that growers will use in the field as an agronomic service.

“It’s not intended to replace or duplicate the agronomic technologies or practices or products that are out there today,” he said.

“It’s again more to use those tools, but to start with the insights engine to talk about the journey, and which technologies, products and practices the farmer can and should employ throughout the growing season.”

TruTerra was launched in 2018 by Land O’Lakes Sustain to help increase the sustainability of the food system.

It is owned by farmers and ag retailers across North America and has partnered with some of the biggest names in agriculture.

“We’ve forged new partnerships with companies like Walmart on its Gigaton Challenge, Microsoft on remote sensing technology and Campbell’s on wheat sourcing,” said a Land O’Lakes Sustain blog.

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