Traceability in Specialty Crop Production and Supply Chains: Distilling a Research and Extension Agenda

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $33,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Kathryn Boys
Virginia Tech
Kathryn Boys
Clemson University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: peanuts
  • Fruits: melons, apples, berries (other), berries (blueberries), cherries, grapes, peaches, plums, berries (strawberries)
  • Nuts: almonds, pecans
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cucurbits, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, focus group, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, marketing management, farm-to-institution, market study, risk management
  • Sustainable Communities: public policy

    Proposal abstract:

    The proposed project seeks to bridge gaps in the marketing channel between small-medium scale producers and institutional food-service operations. Existing barriers already limit the flow of produce between these (potential) supply-chain partners. In addition, legislation proposed in the Food Safety Enhancement Act will add new, mandatory, requirements of all producers who supply institutional food services. As it is perceived that meeting these requirements will be time consuming, expensive and logistically challenging, small-medium scale producers are likely to be disproportionally burdened by these regulations and may opt to exit this marketing channel all-together. From the perspectives of both small-medium scale producers and institutional food consumers, this project will explore and propose remedies to challenges posed by the traceability requirements. In doing so, it is hoped that this project can facilitate the continued participation of smaller scale producers in this economically important marketing channel.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. To examine and document the relevant issues, research questions and extension needs of small-medium scale specialty crop producers with regard to traceability requirements proposed in the Food Safety Enhancement Act.

    2. To examine and document the relevant issues, research questions and information needs of institutional food purchasers to document traceability throughout food-service.

    3. To assess the extent to which there exist similarities and/or conflict between the traceability information and logistic needs of small-medium scale producers, and institutional food providers.

    4. To collect, document, and integrate suggestions regarding best-practices for traceability in the operations of small-medium scale specialty crop producers and institutional food services.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.