Community Builder of the Month: Alec Ibach
Farming has always been in Alec Ibach’s blood. As a fifth generation farmer and rancher from Sumner, Nebraska, it seemed like he was destined to end up running a farm.
After high school, he went to the University of Nebraska and majored in Animal Science. And after college, he went to work as an ag lender for four years. While that wasn’t his passion, it gave him some great experience outside the farm.
Ultimately, Ibach says it taught him a lot of great lessons about what makes a good manager and what makes a poor manager.
When Ibach did return to his family’s cow calf and row crop operation, he was better prepared to take on the responsibility of managing a diversified farm. So when his father took a government role in Washington, D.C., he was ready to manage the operation in his parents’ absence.
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To supplement his income while working on the family farm, Ibach decided to start his own seed business. He was introduced to the Community Builder Program through an old friend who convinced him to layer FBN's crop protection and livestock products on top of his seed offering.
Ibach says that buying through FBN has brought competition to the table and it has forced other suppliers to be aggressive and ultimately, that only helps farmers.
FBN has become his sole chemical supplier. When he puts seed packages together and agronomy and spray recommendations, he uses FBN chemicals.
"We’ve seen way more savings on the input side and being able to be competitive, you know, it just opened my eyes to the amount of money that can be saved when you’re buying through FBN."
One of the biggest hurdles he faces when talking to farmers is that they don’t always know what FBN does or what they offer. And Ibach is always quick to point out that it’s Farmers First® and tries to do everything to help farmers or add value to their operations.
Some of the big suppliers of pharmaceutical supplies will look at FBN as a competitor and disrupter but Ibach says that as a producer and Community Builder, his goal is to make tools more accessible and offer more competitive pricing for farmers.
"On the chem side, we’ve really been able to expand our business and it’s really helped us as a business grow and become more financially stable. We’re a startup and it’s only our 3rd year as a business but being able to supplement that income is never a bad thing. I mean, that’s special to us."
While he sees the benefits on the chem side of his business with direct shipping, he also sees the value that FBN is adding for livestock producers.
“When you talk about livestock, I’m a cow calf producer, and when it comes to taking care of your animals and you have specifics like your ration, you have your mineral packs, you’re comfortable with those things and a lot of livestock guys haven’t switched those things in years. We’ve had the same mineral for 20 years until we switched to FBN.”
And he only sees good things ahead for FBN in the livestock industry. He works closely with his Account Executive, Taylor, to continue building his business organically. But he knows it’s going to take time, and he’s hoping to make more people aware that he offers livestock products.
“Being in a community and working with other producers is going to bring word of mouth and will eventually grow your business. You need the desire to go and work with customers and help farmers solve problems. You can be a tool in their toolkit that they can lean on. You’ve got to be willing to provide that service piece as a community person with local knowledge.”
That’s what it means to be a community builder.
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