A U.S. company has released a blockchain-based digital roadmap for the hemp supply chain. The technology, Hempliance 3.0, tracks chain-of-custody transparency for hemp crops by employing artificial intelligence (AI).
Austin, Texas-based Hempliance Inc. said the software links to detailed data on crop growth recorded by farmers, tracks samples, and provides travel manifests and documentation for transporting hemp shipments to their destinations.
“We have launched Hempliance 3.0 to provide compliance safeguards for farmers and transporters, to connect buyers with sellers, and improve hemp crop yields by deploying AI and machine learning that supports agricultural research and education initiatives,” Hempliance CEO Kenneth Benbow said in a press release. Artificial intelligence can help identify trends and common problems more rapidly and assist planning, the company said.
Built-in QR codes in the company’s application identify each lot of industrial hemp in immutable blockchain records for chain-of-custody proof of life, tracking crop details and ensuring precise GPS location when samples are submitted for lab testing and sales.
Helping farm operators
Upgrades in Hempliance 3.0 are aimed to assist farm managers and co-ops oversee multiple locations through a dashboard customized to meet the specific needs of university researchers and agricultural extension agencies the company is working with to develop pilot programs aimed at boosting productivity and yield per acre.
The software was developed by technology veteran William Whatley, Hempliance co-founder & chief architect. Whatley studied computer science at the University of Texas, Austin, and Texas State University, and served in the Navy on a Search and Rescue Squadron deployed to the U.S.S. Nimitz.
Other functionality of Hempliance 3.0:
• Farm records of the growth cycle are permanently maintained in the application’s database.
• “HempRoad,” a new component, enables detailed on-location photo or video-captures that protect farmers and mitigate the risk of misidentification during routine law enforcement checks.
• A dashboard that enables real-time access to view hemp growth-cycle images and data for multiple locations. Farmers can give access permission to collaborate with: farm managers, labs, farm co-ops, researchers, extension agencies, buyers and prospects, and agribusiness associations.
• The system is built for 10 million users and beyond.
• The field use apps are available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play to work on any GPS-capable device, including smart phones, tablets and laptops.
Other AI projects
Artificial intelligence is increasingly being applied throughout the industrial hemp value chain to increase efficiency, boost output, provide transparency and, ultimately, ensure quality end products:
• A hemp construction consortium in the Puglia region of Italy is employing a digital platform from xFarm, a Swiss “smart farming” developer, which optimizes operations from field to factory to building site. The system sets the basis for quality certification standards at all points along the supply chain, employing such features as irrigation sensors and satellite maps to monitor hemp fields, and a digital management system at the processing and production stage.
• Polish start-up Green Cube Solutions has developed a suite of AI tools dedicated to crop monitoring, yield optimization and management of outdoor hemp fields. The integrated end-to-end platform helps farmers from soil preparation through harvest and up to product distribution, employing satellite and drone imagery data supported by a deep-learning algorithm to monitor the health and vegetative state of each individual plant.
• The Australian state of Victoria is backing hemp trials at an existing “smart farm” project in which the latest technology is used to collect, store, analyze and share electronic data along the agricultural value chain, with a goal to improve processing capability.
• Chinese CBD maker Renhe Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. Is developing a smart medicines logistics park, and constructing an R&D center, part of a ~€9 million ($~10.5 million) initiative. Other Chinese companies are exploring detection technology and smart manufacturing.
• South Korean officials have designated the country’s North Gyeongsang Province a “Special Industrial Hemp Free Zone,” aiming to make it a center of smart farming and high-tech, bio-based industries.
• Toronto-based Canadian Industrial Hemp Corporation is developing “Smart Stalk,” an AI driven, advanced hemp stalk processing and optimization system the company says can reduce the unit cost of decortication by over 45% while providing greater production flexibility.