“Identity preservation is a mindset,” said Chuck Hill, specialty products manager for AgriGold Hybrids. “You’re not producing corn. You’re producing an ingredient that goes into a variety of things, and that’s what the buyer wants.”
Hill presented at the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in St. Louis, where he told corn growers that consumers want consistency and no surprises. That, in turn, is what buyers are looking for as they source ingredients for products from tortilla chips to barbecue to whiskey and even ethanol. He said preventing and managing contamination is one of the biggest challenges for IP growers, but there are lots of tools available. Keeping track of every step in the growing process is key.
“And now in this day and age of the consumer that really is demanding to know where their food comes from, now more documentation, more traceability is out there,” said Hill. “If you’re an IP grower, you’re going to have to be willing to document what you’re doing and answer a lot of questions and even some of those questions go outside of what you did in that field, but that’s the world that we’re in now.”
While many growers are already working under contract with specific identity preservation specifications, even those who are not might be able to sell products at a premium if the demand is there. Hill recommended documenting everything and keeping hybrids separated in different bins to be ready for the potential of selling that product for added value.