Typically in the tech/startup world, when a major player like Google comes knocking on the Angel Investment door people start paying attention, reports Matthew Grassi on CropLife.com.
Back in May, Google Ventures came knocking at the door of San Carlos, CA-based startup Farmers Business Network (FBN) and led a $15 million investment round into the agronomic network that promises to “turn the world into your plot trial,” according to FBN co-founder Charles Baron.
Now substantially funded and aggregating agronomic data on millions of acres across 26 U.S. states in the heat of fall harvest season, the company says they will have millions of acres of 2015 season harvest data analyzed by Thanksgiving.
“The FBN Network works by helping growers integrate all their precision data, cleaning it, mapping it, and then providing input and benchmarking analysis from the anonymized data,” Baron says. “The philosophy of the whole company is Farmers First, putting the power of aggregated data directly into the farmers’ hands.
“This is democratizing farm data – by crowdsourcing, farmers create their own aggregated data set that gives them objective, farmer driven information on which to base decisions. By working together with thousands of other farmers, a farmer can learn vastly more about seeds & populations, fertility, tillage, and rotational practices, than just by looking at their own acres.”
One of FBN’s most popular tools for offseason tinkering when there’s snow on the ground is the FBN Seed Finder system.
Seed Finder allows farmers to explore over 900 seeds’ yields by factors like population, soil type, irrigation, panting date, rotation and precipitation. “Now farmers can see how well a seed actually performs in the real world on their soils, from tens of thousands of acres instead of a small plot,” which Baron says is unique in the fact that most seed decisions typically are based off university or company-funded plot trials.
FBN’s team will also help growers perform return-on-investment driven price to seed performance analysis. “We can help members determine which seed varieties could be the most profitable,” says Baron.