Author

Charles Baron

Charles Baron

Charles is Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Founder of FBN, where he guides the development of the breakthrough farmer-to-farmer network. Previously, Charles was a program manager at Google where he started and led product, investment and research initiatives in advanced energy technologies. Charles’ passion for farming developed after working a corn harvest on his brother-in-law’s farm in Arapahoe, Nebraska, prior to joining Google. Charles earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard with coursework at MIT.


Oct 27, 2021

by Charles Baron

Recently, we made the hard decision to postpone Farmer2Farmer 2021. Farmer2Farmer VI will be back bigger and better in December 2022. We've heard from hundreds of farmer members who wanted to reconnect at F2F this year after a tough 18 months. With the rapidly changing health and event landscape this fall, we did not feel we could host Farmer2Farmer this winter in the way our members have come to expect. Farmers coming together for unfiltered, honest discussion and fellowship with the goal of improving the prosperity of family farms is what has made F2F a tradition for thousands of farms. When F2F comes back, we want to bring thousands of FBN members together again, in person, with the energy, excitement, and interactions you have come to expect from F2F. Our first obligation will always be to keep our members, their families and our employees safe. Like many of you, we will miss the opportunity to come together to rekindle friendships after being disconnected for so long. We won’t compromise Farmer2Farmer by diminishing its size and the number of farmers we bring together. Instead, always guided by our network, we will double down on our efforts to drive innovation across farming for our now 30,000+ member farms. We plan to reconvene F2F next year with our biggest event ever, arming you with even more insights and benefits for your family farms. Until we meet at Farmer2Farmer VI, please reach out to fellow members online in the FBN Community, and look for upcoming local FBN events in your area with our FBN Community Builders. Have a successful harvest, and we hope to see you in your area soon! Regards, Charles Baron


Mar 22, 2020

by Charles Baron

A message to our members from Charles Baron, Co-Founder of All of us at are deeply grateful for the partnership that we have with you, our members. Now, more than ever, the world is counting on farmers. The health and safety of our community is our first and most important priority, and that includes the support of your business operations. In that capacity, has taken significant measures to ensure continuity in our operations. Given that we operate a low-touch, online model, we are well equipped to support you in the current market conditions. Our agility and technology is unmatched, and we are prepared for the challenge. Our teams, while virtual, are available to you anytime.  Remember is first and foremost a community. I’d encourage you to draw upon the strength of our network. As an member, you’re connected to a growing number of over 10,500 fellow farmers, supported by an team of over 450 employees and nearly 160 local Hubs and Community Builders across the U.S. and Canada. Our community is also virtual and our Community online discussion forum allows you to connect with other farmers anytime, in a safe and efficient manner. was born from the premise that, especially in tough markets, farmers need transparent information and low cost alternatives. We are 100 percent committed to bringing you the incredible value, savings, and service you have come to expect from us, no matter how challenging the situation. We’ll be rolling out new deals and discounts throughout the planting season to help.  The world needs you, and we’ll be there to support you each and every day. If there is anything that you need from us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.   Call us at (844) 200-FARM Email us at support@farmersbusinessnetwork.com Place orders anytime at: www.fbn.com/direct/home Sincerely, Charles Baron Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer


Jan 13, 2020

by Charles Baron

Today we welcomed the 10,000th farmer into the network! It’s a moment worthy of celebration, and one that impacts each and every one of us within this interconnected community of farmers. When formed in 2014, we set out to transform industry practices that had been unfair to farmers for far too long. By leveraging price and performance data and tapping into the network strength of farmers across the continent, farming is getting better . The power of a network 10,000 farmers strong Together we’ve proved that there is strength in numbers. And as we continue to grow this network so will your ability to maximize profit potential on your own operation.  Here are ten ways this network 10,000 farms strong is delivering more and more value to you and your operation:  10. Farm smarter with groundbreaking reports and guides Valuable reports like our U.S. Seed Price Transparency Report and the Canola Seed Price Transparency Report are made possible because farmers like you have demanded greater access to greater transparency and reliable insights.  The price and performance data you anonymously contribute gives farmers across the network a better picture of trends within the ag industry and helps you demand a fair price when buying inputs.  As we continue gathering more quality data from member farmers, you’ll receive even more groundbreaking guides and reports that put power back into your hands. 9. Save money buying inputs online Ten thousand farmers means more buying power, plain and simple. When you buy inputs online through , you can save big building your management strategy and have your ag chemicals delivered straight to your farm without ever stepping away from your operation. Hearing about the money farmers are saving—thousands and thousands of dollars in many cases—is one of the most rewarding experiences for all of us at . Plus as we continue to grow we’re able to expand our network of distribution centers across the U.S. and Canada, which means you’ll gain greater access to the chemicals you need when you need them at a fair price. 8. Boost your potential ROI planting conventional corn  This growing network of farmers paved the way for a new seed line aimed at giving you direct access to breeders and delivering quality genetics at a fair price. Last year more than 1,000 farmers planted hybrids and varieties —led by our incredibly priced conventional corn seed —and the ROI numbers are looking great as harvest data rolls in. We’ve rolled out another strong lineup for 2020 and are eager to keep changing the seed ROI landscape together. 7. Connect and recharge at Farmer2Farmer We started hosting an annual meet-up in 2015 to better connect farmers across the network, and a few hundred farmers showed up. That event has grown hand in hand with our network membership over the past five years, giving you the opportunity to connect with other farmers, access resources to strengthen your operation and learn how to get even more out of your membership.  In 2019 we hosted our biggest and best Farmer2Farmer event yet , with more than 3,000 farmers gathering under one roof in Omaha. We’re already planning for next year and can’t wait to connect with even more farmers across the network at Farmer2Farmer VI. 6. Use data-driven tools to help your farm win Our data-driven approach to farming is leveling the playing field for farmers across the U.S. and Canada. Online tools like Seed Finder deliver real-world data on how hybrids and varieties actually perform across thousands of acres, giving you greater insight when you select seeds to plant on your operation . You can also control for conditions similar to your own farm and fields and use our price transparency tools to make sure you’re paying a fair price. Thanks to farmers who contribute their data to the network, Seed Finder now features reliable performance information on more than 5,000 hybrids and varieties, effectively turning the whole world into your plot trial. 5. Find your grain marketing co-pilot One of the biggest challenges farmers face is knowing when and how to sell their grain. Particularly at the end of a challenging crop year, it can be extremely difficult to separate emotions from the decisions you need to make. Our crop marketing services are built around data science and fueled by the strength of the network. Market Advisory members get access to online tools—including our newly launched HedgeCommand system —which provides data-backed insights, show you ways to maximize your farm’s profit potential and help take some of the emotion out of marketing your grain. "HedgeCommand gives me a simple way to see my current sales position and what I should be considering based on the current market. I can easily change my market viewpoint, which then instantly shows me recommendations of possible sales. It is now my quick, daily check to keep up on my position."  – Chris Clifford, Nebraska Testimonials are not indicative of future performance or success. 4. Get more decision-making power through price transparency We believe that price transparency is a basic consumer right, so one of the first things we did when was formed was to invite farmers to anonymously contribute their input invoices. This data provides the basis for our price transparency reports and supports our Seed Finder and Savings Finder tools to help you ensure you’re getting a fair deal.  As more farmers join our network and upload invoices, you’re getting an even clearer picture of what others are paying for seed and chemicals—and that’s putting power back in your hands. 3. Find crop insurance coverage that meets your unique needs Coming out of a challenging year such as this, you’re keenly aware of your need for a crop insurance policy you can count on. In another effort to put , we created Crop Insurance to offer a full suite of insurance products.  Our data-driven tools are able to crunch the numbers when you upload your AIP data and show you coverage options that are best suited to meet your operation’s unique needs. "FBN told us about a crop insurance product we weren't even aware of that could save us money and give us better coverage.That's a win-win." – Tom Pitstick, Ohio 2. Gain access to affordable health coverage for farmers  Just about any American farmer can attest to the challenges of finding quality, affordable health coverage that fits you and your family’s needs. You’re often stuck paying a bigger share of your plan’s premium, and sometimes coverage levels place even more financial burdens on your operation. But we told ourselves when formed that if it’s good for farmers, we’re going to do it. That’s why we launched Health . By utilizing the size of the network, we’re able to offer competitive rates and quality coverage—giving you and your family access to greater well-being and peace of mind. When we hear from farmers like Michael Bergen who are looking at saving thousands of dollars getting coverage through Health, we know that we’re doing the right thing. 1. Participate in a community of farmers When people ask me what is, I always tell them that we are first and foremost a connected network and community of farmers. We’re providing you with a way to connect with other farmers, share insights and learn from one another so that together we can level the playing field and make farming better for farmers. And as this community grows, you’re able to develop relationships with other farmers—both virtually through our Community app as well as in person at events like Farmer2Farmer and other regional meet-ups—to support your own practice and build an even stronger network for everyone. Let’s keep making farming better for farmers—together Do you want to be part of this movement that is changing the face of the entire industry and, rightfully so, putting ? Sign up for a demo and find out how we’re making farming better for farmers like you. Testimonials are not indicative of future performance or success. FBN Market Advisory services are offered by FBN BR LLC, dba FBN Brokerage and FBN Advisory NFA ID: 0508695 DISCLAIMER: The risk of trading futures and options can be substantial and may not be suitable for all investors. All information, publications, and reports, including this specific material, used and distributed by FBN BR LLC shall be construed as a solicitation. FBN BR LLC does not distribute research reports, employ research analysts, or maintain a research department as defined in CFTC Regulation 1.71. This material contains information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed by FBN BR LLC. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. For the purposes of quality assurance and compliance, phone calls to and from FBN BR LLC may be recorded. HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS, SOME OF WHICH ARE DESCRIBED BELOW. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY ACCOUNT WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE PROFITS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN. IN FACT, THERE ARE FREQUENTLY SHARP DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND THE ACTUAL RESULTS SUBSEQUENTLY ACHIEVED BY ANY PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM.  ONE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS IS THAT THEY ARE GENERALLY PREPARED WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT. IN ADDITION, HYPOTHETICAL TRADING DOES NOT INVOLVE FINANCIAL RISK, AND NO HYPOTHETICAL TRADING RECORD CAN COMPLETELY ACCOUNT FOR THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL RISK IN ACTUAL TRADING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABILITY TO WITHSTAND LOSSES OR ADHERE TO A PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM IN SPITE OF TRADING LOSSES ARE MATERIAL POINTS WHICH CAN ALSO ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS. THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO THE MARKETS IN GENERAL OR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY SPECIFIC TRADING PROGRAM WHICH CANNOT BE FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE PREPARATION OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND ALL OF WHICH CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS. FBN’s Cash Contracts is offered by FBN CM LLC and is only available where FBN CM LLC is licensed. We do not guarantee customers will receive specific benefits or value from participating in FBN Market Advisory; results will vary. FBN Market Advisory offerings involve risks, including the risk that market conditions deteriorate, resulting in contract participants receiving a lower price for their grain than had they not participated.  Nature and scope of services is dependent on information provided by you, our customer, and may vary as a result. We may change any or all of the services from time to time upon notice to you.  Copyright © 2014-2020 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "Farmers Business Network", "FBN", and "Farmers First" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 


Apr 19, 2019

by Charles Baron

Which fields did you overplant? In the new , you can see how your yields varied by seeding rates, planting speed, elevation, crop rotation and Soil Productivity Index inside every field for any growing season. By selecting a particular year or “All Years” you can now understand variability between growing seasons and analyze multi-year trends. By seeing yields by Soil Productivity Index, you can determine how much your soil quality affected your production.   Which seeds made you the most money? By combining your seed costs with your precision data, the new break out which seeds had the best price-to-yield ratio on every field. Was that expensive racehorse hybrid worth it? Did upping your seeding rate payoff? calculate each seed’s cost per bushel and cost per acre for every field and your whole farm.   See how your whole farm and each of your fields compare to other growers like you on key agronomic variables. Are you over applying nitrogen? Now you can see how your yields compared to other growers using the same application rates in your region. How are your no-till or strip-till acres performing? Are you optimizing your continuous corn rotations? Find out how you stack up on these and 8 other critical benchmarking variables. The new allow you to view how well varieties performed not just by yield, but by soil type, profitability, and cost, across your whole operation. You can quickly determine which seeds performed the best in your soil types across all your acres, and which ones lagged. Plus, you can see how each seed’s performance on a given soil type benchmarked to other farms that planted the same seeds on the same soils. What was your highest yielding planting temperature? The new break out how planting temperatures impacted yields for your whole enterprise for any given year, or analyze multi-year trends. Are your fields spread over many miles? Yield by Precipitation highlights the impact of field weather. How are your tillage practices yielding across your farm? View yield by tillage at the enterprise, farm, and field level. In the new soil type profiles, you can quickly see which fields contain a given soil type and on how many acres. Plus, for any soil type, the top 25 yielding seeds with full performance profiles are just a click away. The dataset has performance information on over 4,500 US soil types that cover over 500 million acres. ℠ Interested in finding the best 105 day WYFFELS ® seeds on Drummer soil, drained, in 2015?  Seed Finder now remembers your search criteria, so when you click out of each seed profile you can pick up exactly where you left off!   We’ve spent countless hours working with our farmers to build the most intuitive system possible. Now you can seamlessly switch between the enterprise, farm, and field levels on the same analytics. Easily view maps without having to navigate away from your field data. Keep all your data files and field events organized, dig into Seed Finder, or check prices in Procurement, and as always, do it at lightning fast speeds.


Aug 20, 2018

by Charles Baron

Farmers now have greater confidence and power when it comes to selecting and purchasing seed— F2F Genetics Network™  from  creates transparency on seed price, yield performance and genetics. We’re getting rid of the games and gimmicks that define seed buying—like lack of transparency on pricing, hidden discounts and product performance, sweetheart deals, zone pricing, and confusing genetic identity, which makes it incredibly difficult to know if you're paying a fair price for seed, or you're getting the right genetics for your farm. Why Join a Seed Network? Farmers are participating in accelerated seed innovation (versus just passively consuming what seed companies determine is best for them) Simplified structure of bringing new genetics at a lower cost direct to farm Transparency on data, pricing and genetic/parental lineage of seed so you can manage risk at whatever level fits your farm best 1. A Seed Network Gets Farmers Closer to Breeders Instead, farmers have the opportunity to work directly with hybrids and varieties coming from a network of breeders. The breeders are then able to develop and identify high-performing genetics, and farmers can then help them to identify the traits that will work well for those genetics on your farm. By bringing new and different genetics separately from trait technology, we have the opportunity to bring to you products that work at a lower cost. When you plant them, you and other farmers in the network are contributing anonymized product performance data that helps to create the industry’s only unbiased and transparent dataset on seed. When farmers and breeders are working more closely together, farmers can actually help drive new seed development . This means breeders then have access to anonymized, aggregated, real-world performance data they can use to develop new seed with a thorough understanding of micro-environments and agronomics. Our breeder network will have more access to more unique field environments than any other group of breeders. 2. Farmers Play a Big Part of Seed Development Isn’t it time that you helped shape the future of seed genetics around your own farm instead of the seed industry shaping it for you? top performers , by driving research and innovation on their own farms, and going from consumers to creators of seed. Because farmers are a part of the seed development process, you have the opportunity to help breeders understand exactly how those products perform in terms of unique soil types, soil productivity and plant populations, as well as many other agronomic variables that you manage on your farm. And you’ll have an ability to hold back seed for one additional planting and harvest season* 3. Transparency on Performance Data, Pricing, and Genetics We focus on seed products that can bring profitability to your farm alongside more complete data transparency , so you can understand how to manage the hybrids or varieties you choose. This is the first time ever that farmers are going to be able to have .  You won’t have to count on a company agronomist or district manager to be transparent, you will have the actual real-world data. And we’re not bound to confusing licensing and trait agreements, so we have more flexibility in what we offer than multinational seed companies do. We are not handcuffed to specific genetic or trait packages. Farmers in the seed network will also get a first look each year at new hybrids or varieties released in the spring by participating in our Trailblazers program. We’re also cutting out multiple layers of distribution that increase cost and cause confusion around product performance. If you participate in the network you get access to insights—no games, no gimmicks. 4. Direct-to-Farm Seed at a Lower Cost Buying seed direct to farm from the means you can get the the right varieties and hybrids for your farm without haggling or being controlled by big multinational seed companies. was created to give farmers more power and better options when they go to buy seed. It's at the core of our network, and the core of our principle as a data-sharing community. puts farmers first combining our independent network of breeders, universities, and technology companies with cutting-edge data science and the farmer-to-farmer network. *Additional terms & conditions apply and are subject to change.


Article Seed

Sep 06, 2017

by Charles Baron

Seed companies routinely label the same seeds under multiple brands with dramatically different prices. It's a practice we call seed relabeling .  We believe seed information transparency is your basic right as a farmer, consumer and central to the  mission of putting  ℠ . That's why we've  updated the industry's first and only seed relabeling report for 2018 . It shares findings from more than twice the amount of anonymized, aggregated seed tag data and invoices contributed by  network members.  We hope this analysis helps you find the right inputs at the best prices for your farm. seed Relabeling seeds "I deliberately break up my seed orders to spread genetic risk across brands and maturities. I now see that my Croplan R2C5225S selection is THE EXACT SAME VARIETY I ALSO BOUGHT FROM MYCOGEN (5N523 -- R2)! So much for genetic diversity in my seed selection...This bothers me on so many levels." The same seeds you use could cost less from other brands.  embers get   that identify identical varieties to those used on your farm.   join data@farmersbusinessnetwork.com Our study found that relabeling is a widespread practice, affecting 95% of farmers and represents a $2.5 billion segment of the seed industry . is when a seed manufacturer sells an identical seed variety also sold by other brands, often for very different prices. Which brands relabel the most?  Which decline to publish the actual variety IDs of their seeds?  How much relabeling is really going on? Which companies share seed with eachother? Relabeling can cost you, but armed with the right information, can benefit you as well.  Many seed companies may be able to offer you top varieties at better prices or with better service.  The key is that you be informed when you buy. You can access the full Seed Relabeling Report within your account, here .  Munson is a registered trademark of Munson Hybrids. Pioneer, Agventure, C urry, Hoegemeyer, Nutech, Mycogen an d Dairyland are registered trademarks of DowDuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. Phoenix and Catalyst are registered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Fontanelle, Gold Country Seed, Jung, Stewart, REA Hybrids, Specialty, Channel, Hubner and Stone are registered trademarks of the Monsanto Company. Integra is a registered trademark of the Wilbur-Ellis Company. Dyna-Gro is a registered trademark of Crop Production Services, Inc. Innotech is a registered trademark of Rob See Co. FS is a registered trademark of Growmark, Inc. Innotech is a trademark of CHS Inc. Croplan is registered trademarks of WinField Solutions, LLC. Agrigold and Great Lakes are registered trademarks of Agreliant Genetics LLC or their respective owners. Allegiant is a trademark of CHS Inc. B-H Genetics is a registered trademark of B-H Genetics. Latham is a registered trademark of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. Armor is a registered trademark of Armor Seed Company. Hefty is a registered trademark of Hefty Seed Company. Beck’s is a trademark of Beck’s Hybrids. Stine is a registered trademark of the Stine Seed Company. Axis is a registered trademark of the Axis Seed. Masters Choice is a registered trademark of the Masters Choice Company. T.A. Seeds is a registered trademark of the Local Seed Company.


Mar 27, 2017

by Charles Baron

SAN CARLOS, California - March 27, 2017: Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., the independent farmer-to-farmer network, announced today its plan to create an additional 60 full-time positions, on top of previously announced hiring, nationwide to support its rapid growth in its contributory farmer information sharing network and SM  Direct buying platform. The network has expanded rapidly since its launch in 2015, now serving nearly 13 million acres of member farms in 38 states.  Farmer’s Business Network currently employs 125 people across its Sioux Falls, South Dakota National Operations Center, California Technology Center and its field team spanning 12 additional states. “We’re laser focused on our SM  mission by bringing farmers transformational value through the power of networking together,” said network CEO and Co-Founder, Amol Deshpande. “The people we hire are the key to our service—and we hire for character, humility and entrepreneurial thinking above all else." The network will be adding positions primarily in its national field force which works directly in rural America supporting its farmer members, its National Operations Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and its California Technology Center. “We're looking for people who want to challenge the status-quo, are innovative thinkers, and want to create a better future for farmers," said network Co-Founder and VP of Product and Marketing, Charles Baron. The network expects to add this headcount over the next 6-9 months at it works to grow the network further and continue to add world class technology for farmers. Visit www.farmersbusinessnetwork.com/careers to review open positions and apply.  (844) 200-FARM www.farmersbusinessnetwork.com Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. is an independent farmer-to-farmer network. Built by and for farmers, the network connects farmers to share information and enable powerful insights to help make the best decisions for farmers’ land and profits. members receive comprehensive farm benchmarking, real world seed performance analysis and field-seed matching, data mapping, and pricing analytics based on over 87 million acre events of real-world precision agronomic data. The Direct platform connects farmers to manufacturer-direct, national, and transparent pricing on ag chemicals, fertilizers, seeds, technology and services. The network has grown to thousands of farms, from 38 states, across nearly 13 million acres. Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. has offices in San Carlos, California, and a National Operations Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. blends the best of Midwestern agricultural roots and Silicon Valley technology as a completely independent company representing SM . The Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. mission of democratizing farm information has earned the support of world-class technology investors GV, DBL Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers LLP, Bow Capital and Acre Venture Partners. To learn more, visit .


May 19, 2015

by Charles Baron

has been honored to partner with some of the most entrepreneurial, future thinking farmers in the world. Over the last year, we set out to connect farmers and enable them to get the most powerful, trusted insights about their farms, inputs, and practices. We believe the power of farm information should reside with you, the farmer. We’re excited to announce our newest partner, Google Ventures . Google Ventures has led a $15 million investment in to take technology and our members’ farms to the next level. With the support of a company as transformational as Google, can focus on connecting more farmers, building stronger regional networks, creating greater products, and providing the most trustworthy, independent, and unbiased information possible. The idea that farmers should know how inputs are working in the real world, instantly track their own performance, easily manage and integrate their data, and do so cost-effectively -- to us, isn’t revolutionary, it’s common sense.