October 19, 2022
 min read

Blockchain and NFT Use is Growing in Agriculture

Agriculture may not be the first use case you think of for blockchain or NFTs. But, like other industries, their use is only limited to how we can think of using them

Agriculture may not be the first use case you think of for blockchain or NFTs. But, like other industries, their use is only limited to how we can think of using them. 

By its very definition, NFTs are unique and traceable. And food safety and traceability are important parts of agriculture. Rather than use NFTs as collectibles, they could contain all the information about the crops that make our foods. Think varieties planted, pesticides used, and processing locations. Should any food safety issue occur, we could look back at the NFT record of the treatment and facilities used to grow and process that crop.

Speaking of food, do you love steak? Why not buy it as an NFT? CattleProof, a Wyoming-based company, is working to help farmers do almost exactly that. The protocol allows consumers to purchase beef that has been supply-chain verified. Once a farmer uploads data into CattleProof, that information is added to an NFT on the blockchain. Purchase the beef, and get the NFT to find out everything about that cow. If you want to ensure that you’re eating 100% grass-fed beef and that the cow was out roaming the grasslands rather than stuck in a feedlot, an NFT is a great way to verify the information. 

Buying food right off the farm isn’t limited to meat products. Some consumers are getting used to making a weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) food purchase directly from local farms. NFTs with utility could be used to sell weekly subscriptions and even include bonuses for purchasers. They could include behind-the-scenes footage, portraits of egg-laying chickens, or even information about the people who grew their food. Farms could even sell NFT tickets for farm tours or even the chance to ride along in a tractor!

Using NFTs could also be a new way of record-keeping for farmers. Record keeping is still paper-based, and paperwork can easily get lost, ruined or (worst-case) tampered with. Certificates of health, inspections or certifications could all be issued as NFTs. Once the records were on the blockchain, they would be easy to find and trace - and hard to tamper with. 

Similarly, blockchain technology is also being used to fund agriculture projects. For example, EthicHub, a blockchain-driven crowdlending platform, helps unbanked smallholders in emerging economies bring their coffees to added value markets. Usually faced with many difficulties in processing and shipping their coffee, EthicHub enables growers receive the finance they need to get their product out of remote areas in Mexico, Honduras and Brazil and into our cups.

“Blockchain and crypto are powerful tools as catalysts for development because they allow the creation of aligned incentives to build common good,” says EthicHub Co-Founder and CSO, Gabriela Chang Valdovinos.

NFTs have also been used to raise funds to save small farms. They’ve also been used to save Smol farm, a homestead practicing regenerative agriculture while they raise egg-laying ducks. Their NFT project, Dastardly Ducks, released 10,000 duck NFTs with randomly generated traits. Sales of the ducks that ‘hatched’ on their site helped fund the mortgage payment to save their homestead.

Not just for digital enthusiasts, NFTs have functionality across the board - from on-farm sales to raising digital ducks. So next time you see a Bored Ape eating a banana, think about how NFTs could also be used to trace and sell a banana!

Kim is creative, adventurous and giving. She joined the Award Pool team as a copywriter.

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