Ryan Bisel


As we advance into a digital era, we begin to depend on technological innovations to rapidly help develop and update processes and methods within different industries. Blockchain technology—popularized by cryptocurrency—is slowly making its debut in the agricultural supply chain. Implementing a blockchain requirement for suppliers would be beneficial because it would allow agricultural suppliers and distributors to track their products in a more efficient manner. However, there are four potential legal issues that are foreseeable: (1) preemption, (2) overlapping regulatory authority, (3) applying current legal rules to new technology, and (4) contracting. This Note will specifically focus on issues of preemption, overlapping regulatory authority, and applying current legal rules to new technology, and will address why a blockchain requirement should be implemented into the agricultural supply chain.

Part I of this Comment addresses the primary problems with the current state of the agricultural supply chain. Part II discusses legal regulatory issues with blockchain and how the implementation of a federal act aimed to improve traceability and transparency has affected the prescription drug industry and supply chain. Part III addresses the intended benefits of a proposed solution regarding the complete implementation of blockchain into the agricultural supply chain, the use of companies piloting blockchain technology to track and trace cattle, and a possible regulatory approach called “soft law.”