Farmer network organization launches animal health and nutrition platform in the US

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Pamela_d_mcadams
© GettyImages/Pamela_d_mcadams

Related tags licks Veterinary medicine industry consolidation beef cattle swine

Farmer’s Business Network, the independent farmer-to-farmer network, with reach in the US, Canada and Australia, this week announced the launch of its animal health and nutrition platform.

The Minnesota based Prairie Livestock Supply, a subsidiary of Prairie Holdings Group, has been acquired by FBN.

That company provides feed and nutrition services along with pharmaceuticals for swine, beef, dairy and poultry. Its team of 40 veterinarians, animal health sales specialists and nutritionists with expertise in swine, beef, dairy and poultry will join FBN.

In addition, through this new deal, the organization said its members in select US states will be able to access clinical veterinary services for beef, swine, and dairy through a partnership with Southwest Veterinary Services.

With industry consolidation squeezing family farm and ranch incomes, and increasing consumer interest in how food is produced, the organization says US livestock producers need every tool possible to maximize their profit potential and sustainability.

FBN said it believes that ongoing mergers among pharmaceutical manufacturers and feed retailers leave producers with less choice and competition for their business. It wants to improve the profit potential of the entire farm operation — from seed genetics to finished livestock.

"Independent family livestock producers are at a critical crossroads,”​ said Charles Baron, FBN VP of Livestock and co-founder. “Improving both the producer economics and environmental sustainability of livestock is the best way to ensure farms are family run for generations to come."​ He stressed that FBN is now able to do both. 

When asked by how much this nutrition platform could reduce feed costs for members, he told FeedNavigator: “Every producer’s situation is different. Some may have very competitive pricing already and some may not. We have seen savings as high as 20% on certain products. Even farms who currently have very good pricing, find using FBN’s financing options very helpful in reducing working capital loads.”

How does a farmer go about accessing this new vet service? “Firstly by giving us a call, we’ll be happy to consult with the producer about their needs. Producers can also work with their existing vets and utilize FBN’s Pharmacy for buying prescription and nonprescription animal health products,”​ added Baron.

Currently livestock products are only available in the US, not in Canada or Australia. “While the platform is similar to all three countries in terms of agronomic analytics and chemical purchasing from FBN Direct, there are some differences in input product availability and marketing and financial services availability," ​he explained. 

Services for US livestock producers

FBN flagged that its multi-species livestock platform now provides farmers with an array of transparently priced, high-ROI products and services.

  • The FBN Pharmacy has a full line of animal health pharmaceuticals and supplies from branded and generic manufacturers, which give producers control to choose the products that best fit their operation. Animal health products are supported by a team of veterinarians and shipped direct to the farm in 41 states and counting.
  • FBN’s broad and growing feed portfolio includes "​transparently-priced"​ dry feed, liquid supplements, lick tubs, and nutritional services for beef cattle, swine, and poultry — available in select US states.  
  • FBN Finance and FBN Insurance are available to producers for financing inputs and purchasing livestock insurance.
  • Lastly, through its partner, Southwest Veterinary Services, FBN members will be able to access full clinical veterinary service capabilities for dairy, swine operations and beef cattle, as well as access to autogenous vaccines.

The organization says this deal is the latest one in a series of acquisitions aimed at providing more option for growth for farmers. Earlier this month, it expanded its offerings to specialty markets through the acquisition of Pro Ag. And, in February, FBN launched Gradable Carbon, which is aimed at empowering farmers to earn and own carbon credits.

The FBN network has grown to cover more than 67 million acres of member farms in the US, Canada, and Australia. It has over 600 personnel and offices in California, Chicago, and South Dakota, a Canadian headquarters in Alberta and an Australian headquarters in Perth.

What would be a typical farmer member profile? “Any farmer in the US, Canada, or Australia who is looking to maximize their ROI and the profitability of their operations. About half of FBN members also have livestock. A typical FBN member farms an average around 3,000 acres and manages an integrated livestock operation,”​ said the co-founder.

Venture-backed organization 

In terms of funding, Baron explained that FBN is a venture-backed company: “However, we do not disclose our funding amount. We're backed by world-class investors including GV, DBL Partners, T Rowe Price, and Temasek.”

How does the FBN pricing model work? 

Any US, Canadian or Australian farmer can become a member for free and benefit from the company's direct-to-farm commerce, crop marketing, and sustainability platform that redefines transparency, value, and convenience in the agriculture industry. FBN's agronomic network is a contributory, farmer-driven platform that creates real-world data for growers, from growers. As before, data contribution is strictly optional for members and not required for membership. Access to features such as price transparency, seed finder price and performance analytics, will be reserved for data contributing members.”

Do you plan to expand FBN beyond North America and Australia? “Yes, but we are very focused on serving our current customers," ​added Baron.

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