FBN drops membership fee

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Farmers Business Network (FBN) has announced a change to its business model: it is dropping its $700 annual membership fee as of September 15 in an effort to expand its customer base.

Farmers who had already paid for membership this year will receive credit for future purchases of products or services.

FBN entered the Canadian market in 2017 with headquarters in High River, Alta., followed by the acquisition of its first bricks-and-mortar retail location at Yorkton, Sask. The company hired its first Ontario representative earlier in 2020.

Originally launched in 2014 as a crop data aggregation platform, FBN says it now has a membership of 14,000 farmers in three countries — the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It is now known for its largely online crop input product and service offerings.

The company says that “As a company we do not want any current or prospective members to worry about membership costs. We want to make FBN accessible to all, so we are stepping up to provide access to our portfolio of offerings all of which are focused on creating transparency, competition and helping you lower your costs and increase your profit potential.”

FBN also says to expect more announcements over the coming weeks and months related to new community initiatives, and finance, crop marketing, and direct buying opportunities.

Several crop input suppliers and distributors, incpuding BASF, Bayer, Cargill, Corteva, Federated Co-op, Univar Solutions and Winfield, are currently under investigation by Canada’s Competition Bureau for anti-competitive behaviour for having allegedly “refused to supply or restricted supply to Farmers Business Network Canada.” That investigation is still ongoing.

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