Farmers Business Network (FBN), a data-sharing company with roots in Silicon Valley, announced new services as about 1,000 of its farmer-members and a few others gathered in Omaha this week.
FBN requires its farmer-members to provide agronomic, input-price and other data, which is aggregated and made anonymous. Members, who pay $500 yearly, are then able to access the analytics on seed performance, agronomic practices, input prices and yield benchmarking as they manage their operations.
“The FBN network creates a future for farmers that is independent, data-driven, transparent and fair with real competition for their business,” says Charles Baron, VP of products and a co-founder of the company.
FBN claims to have data on more than 10 million U.S. crop acres and says it’s receiving about 1,000 new invoices per week from farmers sharing what they’re paying for seed and inputs.
The following are some of FBN’s newest offerings, announced at the Omaha meeting:
- FBN Direct: The company’s chemical procurement program, launched last year, is being renamed and expanded to allow members to also buy seed directly from the manufacturer, as well as seed treatments, starter fertilizer, farm equipment and farm services. FBN claims “several farmers” have saved as much as 50% on their input costs through this program.
- FBN Crop Marketing: FBN is preparing to launch a new service that will allow members to consult with aggregated production and yield data to help inform their marketing decisions. Danny Turkovich, FBN’s head of products, says the company’s yield and production data “tracks with USDA results about five days ahead,” giving farmer-members market cues sooner than they have had in the past.
- Agronomic Intelligence: FBN says it’s made “major updates” to its seed-selection tools, as well as “a new field-level weather system allowing farmers to understand historical weather patterns on their farm, as well as new precision mapping capabilities for application data and multi-year yield trends.”
Over the longer term, Turkovich says FBN will offer its members the ability to make deals directly with end users online, such as food companies. Another service FBN leaders told members is on the horizon: the ability to buy, sell and trade member-to-member online.
“We’re going to let farmers who own businesses list on our website so you can talk and trade with each other,” FBN CEO Amol Deshpende told the crowd. “There are all kinds of things you can share in the sharing economy.”