We started thinking about shellfish tagging about a year ago. We were watching
folks waste valuable time filling out harvester/dealer tags, log books, and generally dealing with tons of paperwork. After talking to a lot of farmers, dealers, regulators and reading the 487 pages of the Model Ordinance, we finally launched our tagging solution in March of 2020--right as every farm shut down for Covid. Despite the headwinds of a global pandemic, we had 41 new clients in less than 6 months.
So what have we learned?
1) Paperwork Sucks: Regulations exist for good reasons, but complying with regulations is painful. No one became a farmer because they wanted to do paperwork.
2) Most states are a little different: despite the Model Ordinance most states have slightly different regulations (or interpretations of regulations). For example, Washington state wants you to collect water or animal temperature at harvest. Florida wants to know what type of cooling you have. Others want bulk tags handled differently.
3) Paper is painful: We (I) thought finding waterproof paper would be the easy part. Turns out getting it on the right size rolls with the right perforation and in the right orientation is a lot harder than expected. We sent 100s of useless rolls back to the factory.
The future is becoming more obvious. Now distributors can scan in the tag information--saving them time and money. The QR codes lets us pass extended information that folks always want but doesn't fit on the tag (say tasting notes or a farmer
profile). We can also make farmer's lives easier by making it easier to do state filings and in the future printing invoices and other associated paperwork.