The startup taking on Bayer with cheaper, non-GMO seeds
Published: April 5, 2019
Category: Non-GMO Trend, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Five-year-old Farmers Business Network, Inc. (FBN) has inserted itself in the Big Ag GMO seed market—by introducing a brand of non-GMO seeds that due to advances in breeding, farming practices, and chemical formulas, can compete with GMOs.
FBN co-founder Charles Baron believes growers should have more power. “There’s no reason you should have the lowest incomes when you do all the work and take all the risk,” he said.
Addressing seed costs—U.S. farmers spent $22 billion last year—FNB directly develops seeds with breeders, eliminating the middlemen. Its non-GMO corn seed, branded F2F Genetics Network, sells for $115 per bag, versus an average $270 per bag for GMO seed.
FBN members upload their farm data in exchange for data from nearly 8000 U.S. farms, generating transparency across the seed industry. Price, performance, and other seed factors are shared by farmers lending valuable information to enhance profits. With glutted commodity markets, farmer incomes have dropped 46 percent in recent years.
Some growers are waiting to see if FNB’s non-GMO seeds perform well, while others are jumping right in. Trent Dabbs is planting most of his 3,000 Arkansas acres with F2F Genetics Network seed to cut his seed price in half—and hopefully reap the non-GMO premium. “When…you see what you can save, that’s a big deal,” Dabbs said.
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