Meet the FBN® Canada Team: Q&A with Jeff Vanrobaeys, Senior Sales Agronomist

Brian Paff

May 01, 2023

Jeff Vanrobaeys is the Senior Sales Agronomist for FBN Canada. His industry experience spans more than 25 years, with agronomy-focused roles in research, management, marketing and sales, and agronomy support.

What experiences led you into agronomy and your current role with FBN?

Jeff Vanrobaeys (JV): I've always been involved in a family farming operation. I spent most of my summers at my grandparents' farm, and that kind of instilled in me a love of agriculture and farming in general—I adapted well to the community mindset, if you will.

So out of that I pursued agriculture at the University of Manitoba (I thought I might be a vet at one point in time, but that never materialized).

Now I'm a certified crop advisor and a 4-R nutrient management specialist, having worked in many aspects of agriculture—from research to management to sales and marketing to agronomy.

The agronomist position with FBN presented me with a great opportunity to be involved in a unique and innovative company in a dynamic environment.

My primary responsibilities involve supporting our account managers and executives, who in turn work with FBN members in Canada, by sharing knowledge and relaying insights into our products, what they do and what the right fit might be for a particular operation.

Describe the challenges farmers face when buying pesticides for their operation.

JV: It certainly is a challenging process. Often growers are compelled to buy certain products to qualify for programming, and other times their retailer will push products to satisfy their own sales volume and meet targets.

There are lots of choices and many similar products that do essentially the same thing. Farmers know they’re going to need pesticides each year, and they want to ensure they’re making educated decisions.

Your bottom line is important—so what you pay for crop protection makes a big difference.

How does FBN Direct make farming better for farmers?

JV: Growers are able to log on to FBN Direct and look up a chemical they may be interested in. They can also see what other options or alternative chemistries are available. If it's a product that FBN has for sale, our price will be right there for them.

And if it's a brand we don't offer through FBN Direct, they’ll be able to see a generic alternative, get a snapshot of what other growers in the area are paying for that product and ultimately make more informed purchase decisions. 

With fair and transparent pricing, a grower can choose a similar active ingredient—often at a much lower cost and in a more usable package. 

[Read: Understanding Branded vs. Generic Crop Protection Products]

What do you enjoy most about working with farmers?

JV: Working with farmers is a truly rewarding experience. It’s a very close-knit community, and I don't think you'll find a more honest, compassionate group of people.

There are friends that I made 25 years ago through farming who I still communicate with today. And my wife’s family still farms, so that has obviously carried on into my personal life. 

I always treat customers fairly and with honesty, and I want to address what is best for their operation. I try to ask, “What would I do in that situation?” and then develop a plan based on that philosophy. 

Conversation edited for clarity and brevity.

[Shop for crop protection products and other ag inputs at FBN Direct.]

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/provincial law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix.

Brian Paff

May 01, 2023

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