Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) says a new tool announced Tuesday, FBN Crop Marketing, promises to connect farmers with more than 4,000 possible buyers, computing the best price even after any additional freight cost.
“Most farmers sell all of their grain in a 15-mile radius of their farm,” says Charles Baron, co-founder of FBN. “One farmer discovered a $1-per-bushel advantage for driving 100 miles—even after factoring shipping costs.”
The Crop Marketing tool is divided into two sections, Profit Center and Select Markets. Profit Center identifies and presents bids to farmers, with the most profitable filtering to the top. Text messages alert farmers of any bids that come their way. Farmers enter estimated shipping costs per mile, and the tool automatically calculates the locations of the most profitable bids, factoring in the cost of any additional miles.
Farmers with specialty crops such as non-GMO corn or soybeans, lentils or chickpeas can use the Select Markets tool. FBN says it partners with buyers, such as hummus manufacturers looking for chickpeas, and connects interested farmers to those customers. Farmers who don’t currently produce specialty crops, but would if there was a market, can also opt in to be informed of specialty crop opportunities and change crops if they’re not already planted. FBN says it brings farmers contracts from food companies looking for specific crops. If a farmer signs a contract, FBN says it will provide a cash advance against the crop.
“FBN will buy the crop and sell it to the food company,” Baron says. “The market is growing: pasta companies have come looking for non-GMO corn, whiskey distilleries are asking for corn, and so on,” he said.
“Crop Marketing enables us to transform a farm’s profitability,” Baron says. “We can provide a cash advance against the crop and finance the farmer’s input needs so they don’t pay until after harvest.”
To access this tool, farmers must be a member of FBN, which costs $600 per year.