Farmers Business Network Takes On Big Ag
With a new round of funding and a national expansion of its procurement services, Farmers Business Network (FBN) says it is helping farmers level the playing field with big ag.
"Independent family farms are the bedrock of the rural economy and our food system. Yet, farm family incomes are punished by unnecessarily high and steadily increasing input prices,” says Charles Baron, FBN cofounder and vice president. “Farmers are the patrons of the ag economy but realize the lowest profits of anyone in the value chain. By joining FBN, farmers become a part of a community of more than 2,500 farms spanning nearly 9 million acres. FBN levels the playing field for farmers by networking farms together, democratizing farm information, and enabling transparent national access to manufacturer-direct prices on farm inputs – saving members thousands of dollars.”
An independent farmer-to-farmer network, FBN has raised $20 million in additional funding, which enables it to further expand its network, farm analytics, and procurement services. This new round brings total funding to nearly $48 million.
"Today’s farm economy is brutal for farmers – low crop prices, high input prices – family farms need to be protected,” says Baron. “By networking together, farmers can now gain the informational and negotiating upper hand. Especially in a tough farm economy, FBN gives independent farmers the tools and support they need to make a profit, choose wisely, and remain independent together.”
Launched commercially in 2015, FBN was committed to a transparent pricing model to rid farmers of acre fees, which it believes punishes farmers for scale. A farm membership for FBN costs $500 per year for an entire operation.
Procurement Service Available
“Input vendors often use complicated bundling, zone pricing, rebates, gifts, and loyalty programs that can make it frustratingly difficult for farmers to compare prices and shop around,” he says. “These programs harm farm family incomes and stifle competition for their business. After research found farmers paying up to a 300% difference for the same vital input products, and even 40% difference within an hour’s drive, FBN Procurement Service was launched in December 2015 to provide all farmers access to market-leading input prices online.”
This service publishes prices online that are fully transparent to members at all times. No zone pricing, no rebates, no confusing marketing programs. The network works directly with manufacturers to source the lowest-priced products and passes those savings along to farmers with both cash and careened input financing options available. You can click on the link to check out the Ag Chemical Price Transparency Report, which was published in July 2016.
FBN plans to expand the service nationally this year and add other products.
“The FBN network creates a future for farmers that is independent, data driven, transparent, and fair with real competition for their business. It all boils down to more profits for independent family farms and better outcomes for consumers,” says Baron.
Learn more by visiting farmersbusinessnetwork.com.