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For Immediate Release

06.27.2018

Governor Hutchinson, IBM Host Blockchain Technology Summit

The latest technology opportunity for Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – Dozens of business, government, agriculture, and education leaders from across the state met with Governor Asa Hutchinson and IBM today to explore the evolving use of blockchain technology to track the distribution of food from the field to the table.

In partnership with IBM, Governor Hutchinson has created Blockchain for Arkansas, or BC4AR, to coordinate and align safety and distribution efforts among key industry leaders. 

“Blockchain is a first-generation technology that has the potential to improve the delivery of goods and services in a full range of industries, especially the food industry,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Arkansas has an opportunity to be a leader in the application of blockchain technology by beginning an important conversation about aligning food-safety efforts throughout the state.”

With blockchain technology, a business or an entire industry can store its data securely, access it quickly and offer transparency to all its partners. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize education, retail sales, the food industry, and the logistics industry, among many.

Representatives from Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Riceland Foods and other Arkansas industry leaders – as well as state and local leaders in education and agriculture – attended the summit to learn about the potential of blockchain.

Mariels Winhoffer, IBM Vice President and Global Managing Director, Walmart, Arkansas Senior State Executive, expressed her company’s enthusiasm for Blockchain for Arkansas. 

“IBM is pleased to work with Governor Hutchinson to implement BC4AR to help establish Arkansas as a destination for Blockchain in the food supply chain industry,” Ms. Winhoffer said. “Arkansas has a unique advantage … with some of the world’s largest retailers and agricultural producers in our backyard. We want to harness Arkansas’ unique agricultural and corporate landscape to define new skills, job roles and ways of working in the new blockchain market. … Not only will it create cost savings and efficiencies for farmers and businesses, but it will contribute to a safe, transparent and traceable food-supply chain for consumers.”

The accurate tracking possible with blockchain technology will reduce food waste and lead to better use of surplus food. It also will accelerate the ability to recall a retail product and to determine its point of origin.

“Arkansas once again has an opportunity to lead the way through the use of technology,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Blockchain can increase transparency in our food supply chain and increase trust from our consumers. I look forward to working with industry leaders to evaluate the next steps in implementing this technology.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

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