Once upon a time, Silicon Valley and agriculture would have made strange bedfellows, but it’s increasingly the norm to turn to these digital dukes as farmers absorb more and more high-tech tools into their operations. And oftentimes, the tech industry places big bets on developing the next big solution in farming. Case in point – Google Ventures just closed $15 in funding to support the Farmers Business Network, an independent farmer-to-farmer information network.
With FBN, farmers access independent, real-world information on members’ inputs, agronomic practices and yield performance. This allows members to see what inputs and practices may work best on their operation. FBN is using this funding to grow its platform nationally and work with more farmers.
“Farmers have been advising each other for thousands of years,” says FBN co-founder Charles Baron. “FBN gives them a platform to do so with real information on a massive scale, so they can make the most informed decisions. It’s about putting farmers first.”
FBN provides advanced analytics that includes yield benchmarking and seed performance and matching for more than 490 seed varieties. To-date, the company has analyzed 7 million acres of data in the U.S., and is growing at a rate of about 30% per month.
Google Ventures general partner Andy Wheeler says it’s still relatively rare to find a team that bridges the gap between the tech savvy and farming savvy.
“Today, there are greater opportunities to scale their business than ever before, and we’re excited to work with the FBN team as they help build the next wave of productivity in agriculture,” he says
Google has partnered with other agriculture entities before –most notably with Raven Industries to develop what it calls Project Loon, a network of high-altitude balloons that would cast a broad web of Internet access to rural and remote areas that currently don’t have it.
For more about FBN, visit www.farmersbusinessnetwork.com.