(Feb. 11) GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — These days, talk of implementing radio-frequency identification usually seems to come from retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

But rather than wait around to see what the retailers are going to do, Global Berry Farms LLC — the Naples, Fla.-based partnership between MBG Marketing, Grand Rapids, Hortifruit SA, Santiago, Chile, and Naturipe Berry Growers, Watsonville, Calif. — is developing its own RFID program.

The company is partnering with BlueGranite, a Kalamazoo-based software developer, and Western Michigan University to develop the system. Global Berry Farms could not be reached for this story.

Matthew Mace, chief executive officer of BlueGranite, said the project will take place in several phases. The first step will be to set up a testing laboratory at the university by April.

The difference with this project is that, instead of testing the tags on pallets, the tags will be tested on actual trays of blueberries.

“We’re going to do some experiments on the reading accuracy of the tags,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems right now with the technology regarding accuracy, it’s kept a lot people away. So really a lab is the best place you want to be right now.”

Mace said the testing likely would continue through the summer and by November the group hopes to have a pilot program set up at an MBG facility in Grand Junction.

“There we’ll probably take one warehouse door and set up the reading antennae and some pallets and do a few runs,” he said. “We want to use this as a demo site so that the entire Global Berry Farms operation can get used to the idea.”