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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
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OMAHA, Neb.—Inside a packed arena last December, 2,700
farmers sipped coffee from paper cups and listened to
remarks on the Midwestern economy: incomes down, costs up
and bankruptcies rising.
The speaker wasn’t a politician or an academic. He was
Charles Baron, co-founder of Farmers Business Network, or
FBN, a Silicon Valley startup that is trying to build an Amazon-
like online marketplace for agricultural supplies.
Mr. Baron, pacing the stage in a black-and-green flannel shirt,
warned the audience that big companies often sell seeds and
herbicide sprays at inflated prices, protecting their profits. FBN,
he said, allows users to compare prices across products and
suppliers, helping farmers negotiate.
“It is critical that you have control,” said Mr. Baron.
FBN doesn’t have a lot right now. Some of the world’s biggest
farm suppliers, including Bayer AG, Corteva Inc. and Syngenta
AG have refused to sell their brand-name seeds and crop
sprays to the startup. Executives say traditional stores remain
central to their business.

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