Helping farmers and growers protect crops in transit
Farmers and growers take great pride in what they do and what they produce—and for very good reason. Farming is a challenging business. It takes hard work, thoughtful planning and exacting execution. Even when farmers and growers do everything right, weather, disease and trade policy shifts can create new, unexpected hurdles.
Today, the United States alone is home to about 2 million farms, ranging from small family farms to large industrial operations covering thousands of acres. The U.S. is currently the world’s largest food exporter, as American farmers help feed their neighbors and millions of people around the globe. As such, agriculture is a large and important component of the overall U.S. economy, as it is in many other nations.
Once a crop has been harvested, farmers, growers and other partners in the agricultural supply chain work together to ensure the safe and secure transport of everything from corn, wheat and soybeans to fruit, vegetables, cotton and more. This is true not only for domestic producers but also for farmers and growers worldwide.
While food safety impacts everyone, it is critically important to the individuals, families and companies engaged in the production and transportation of agricultural products. Indeed, farmers have a strong and abiding interest in helping to protect and preserve a safe and secure food supply chain.
Contaminated or otherwise compromised agriculture products jeopardize the health and lives of millions. Disruptions to domestice and overseas agricultural systems could starkly impact the trust and confidence consumers have in farm products, reducing public safety and driving down the value of the food economy.
Agricultural transport security is also important for theft prevention and detection. In 2016, U.S. cargo theft totaled $114 million, with food and beverages accounting for 41 percent of stolen goods. Agricultural commodities, unlike many high-value consumer goods such as computers, mobile devices and other electronics, can be difficult to track once stolen, as they lack serial numbers and bar codes. This, of course, makes stolen agricultural goods easier to sell and, therefore, more attractive to thieves.
One recent example of the theft risk to agrciultural products was the wave of stolen nut shipments that plagued California growers in 2014 and 2015. Nuts are relatively high value products in comparison to many other farm goods, making them that much more attractive for thieves to target. At the time, too many almond and pistachio farmers did not have adequate security measures in place, creating increased opportunities for theft.
For generations, agriculture has grown and flourished through innovation, from early plow and equipment inventions to evolving planting practices to more recent advances in farming and seed technology. Innovation remains critically important today, as farmers strive to become more efficient and increase yields. Once crops are harvested, continuous innovation is also essential when it comes to moving agricultural products through the supply chain safely, securely and efficiently.
The role of security seals in protecting agricultural products
During the transport of agricultural products, it’s important for producers and transport companies to be able to audit and evaluate the full chain of custody to lessen vulnerability. Security measures should make it as difficult as possible for would-be terrorists, thieves and other bad actors to access or tamper with agricultural products, ingredients and finished goods.
Today, leading farmers and agricultural firms are using a layered-security approach to protect the safety and quality of their products as they flow through the supply chain, from production and distribution to recieving and storage. Based on concepts from military strategy, layered-security combines multiple mitigating security control measures to protect resources. For security seals, this translates into using various types of security seals from ISO-rated High Security seals down to Plastic Indicative seals that can deter and show evidence of tampering.
TydenBrooks: A trusted agricultural security partner
With more than 145 years of security experience, TydenBrooks has a long history of helping clients across the agricultural supply chain secure their harvests, maintain regulatory compliance and protect their businesses and reputations. TydenBrooks historically and today offers the greatest breadth of both standard and custom products of any security seal manufacturer and in such offers the most significant layered-security approach.
ISO-rated High Security seals gives agricultural companies chain of custody assurance. For example, the EZ Loc Plus 1/8 is an ISO 17712:2013 High Security Seal and C-TPAT Compliant. The EZ Loc Plus features a non-preformed security cable that frays when cut with various marking options for customized tracking. The seal pulls tight for maximum security and can only be removed with cable cutters. TydenBrooks also offers a non-ferrous version of the EZ Loc.
Bolts seals including Snaptracker and Intermodal are CTPAT compliant for cross-border shipments and meet ISO 17712:2013 standards. Requiring bolt cutters for removal, these bolts provide superior strength and tampering deterrence. The new Flex Bolt seal is made from galvanized aircraft cable, making it more pliable than traditional bolts while still meeting ISO 17712:2013 standards.
Plastic security seals are affordable, effective and efficient for use throughout the agricultural supply chain. Such seals fall into three categories: adjustable length, fixed length and plastic padlock. Often called indicative seals, plastic security seals are designed to show clear evidence of tampering. And these security seals can be branded, numbered and/or bar coded for extra security.
Adjustable and Fixed length security seals allow users to adapt the seal to a wide range of sizes and applications. Such seals include the Tug Tight Seal, a single-use tamper evident pull-tight adjustable device perfect for securing tote-boxes and storage cabinets. Meanwhile, the Secure-Grip Seal is used on tanker trailers, hopper cars and similar equipment. An adjustable length plastic strap seal ideal for many applications, the Secure-Grip Seal comes in multiple sizes, with options for nylon and polypropylene construction as well as hot stamped, label or thermal transfer marking. Used routinely in the food and beverage industry, the Gemini Tote Security Seal is a dual-numbered fixed length plastic tote security seal specifically designed to secure tote boxes. Since totes require two seals to be properly secured, the Gemini Tote Security Seal is always made in twin sets with identical numbers.
Plastic padlock security seals offer convenience of one-hand closure. The Handilok HL-8 Padlock seal provides tamper-evident security for storage bins and lockers. A spring-like arm and plugged barrel provide clear tamper evidence, and the device requires no tools for easy application and removal.
For additional and perhaps critical final layer of security, hybrid tamper-evident devices can be added. Seals like the SeaLock SL completelty immobilize a shipping container or truck by locking the sides of the doors and the door latch. The device requires two cuts for removal and exceeds all ISO 117112:2013 Clause 6 standards and CTPAT standards for high secuirty seals.
Given the enduring importance of quality, safety and security across agricultural supply chains, famers and growers have a strong and growing interest in tampering and theft prevention.
Heightened activity by terrorist groups and lone-wolf actors has put agricultural products at greater risk. Meanwhile, thieves are targeting farm goods with increased frequency and sophistication.
As part of a multi-layered security strategy, farmers and their partners are increasingly reliant on various types of security seals to prevent tampering and theft. TydenBrooks, the global leader in security seals, is helping many farmers and growers across the country and around the world protect consumers while safeguarding their crops, businesses, brands and reputations.
For more information or to discuss your unique security needs, contact TydenBrooks at 1-800-458-SEAL or via email at [email protected]. We look forward to helping you prevent tampering and theft while securing the safe handling and delivery of your agricultural products.