Farmers Business Network Secures $20 Million Funding Round, Expands Procurement
Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., the independent farmer-to-farmer network, has raised $20 million in additional funding, led by Acre Venture Partners. This financing enables the FBN network to further expand its farmer network, farm analytics service and the rapidly growing FBN Procurement Services.
American farmers are battling through a brutal year of low commodity prices, high input costs, and unprecedented consolidation amongst their ag industry suppliers. The FBN network 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 its members thousands of dollars.
Historically, important information such as fair market input prices and real world seed performance was hidden from farmers or impossible to determine. The FBN network makes all this information transparent in a no frills way – driven by millions of acres of member farms.
Launched commercially in 2015, only 20 months ago, and originating from farmers themselves, the FBN network now encompasses more than 2,500 farms operating nearly 9 million acres in 31 states and grows by hundreds of thousands acres each week. When FBN began, it committed to a transparent pricing model to rid farmers of unfair “acre fees” which punish farmers for scale. Instead, a farm membership currently costs only $500 per year, making the power of the FBN network easily affordable for farms of any size.
Launching FBN Procurement to Increase Farm Profits
Assessing true market prices when farm buying inputs has been notoriously difficult for farmers. 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. These programs harm farm family incomes and stifle competition for their business, according to the news release from FBN.
After research found farmers paying up to 300% difference for the same vital input products, and even 40% difference within an hour’s drive, FBN Procurement Services was launched in December 2015 to provide all farmers access to market leading input prices online*.
FBN Procurement allows farmers to purchase inputs with no confusion, FBN claims. Prices are published online and are fully transparent to members at all times. No zone pricing, no rebates, no confusing marketing programs. FBN Procurement works directly with manufacturers to source the lowest-priced products and pass along savings directly to farmers with both cash and carry and input financing options available. Since launching the service last December, it received overwhelming demand from hundreds of farms and has helped farmers realize savings of up to 50% on critical inputs. FBN Procurement will expand the service nationally this year while also adding other product lines beyond ag chemicals.
Finally, following its 2016 releases of its updated agronomic analytics, FBN Ops app, and Price Transparency system, FBN will continue to explore more technology solutions to bring the power of its fast growing network to bring more profits to farmers.
“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,” said Co-Founder & VP of Products, Charles Baron.
Acre Fund brings deep expertise in agriculture and food to the FBN mission. “Farmers are the backbone of our food system.” said Gareth Asten, General Partner at Acre. “The connections created by FBN and the power they give to farmers helps create a future of transparency, health and sustainability. This investment will allow Acre to become a part of the FBN legacy – one that helps farmers to create better outcomes and be independent together like never before possible.”
This new round brings total funding to nearly $48 million. Existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLP, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and DBL Partners LLP all participated in this round as well.