Author

Mark Wilson

Mark grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario, Canada where he worked on farms as a teenager. With degrees in History and Journalism from Western University and Algonquin College, he was destined to write. He moved to Central Illinois in 2011 and feels right at home because he’s surrounded by corn and soybeans as far as the eye can see. At FBN, Mark is the Content Marketing Manager where he strives to create compelling stories that speak to the needs of farmers who want to become more independent and profitable.


28 July 2022

by Mark Wilson

When did you join FBN®, what is your current role at FBN , where are you based, and what are your responsibilities?   I joined FBN in November 2020, I am a senior loan advisor in the finance department. I provide financing on ag real estate, operating and equipment, also cross selling in insurance and livestock for farmers and people getting into farming, and also cross selling other FBN products. The majority of the people I do business with are already in the ag industry, but some are people who are thinking about getting into farming.    What was your previous work experience before joining FBN ?   I was an Ag Lender for about 15 years in the community banking system, I was vice president at a couple of banks, president at one bank. Most of them were hometown community banks. What did you first find compelling about FBN that led you to want to learn more?   My former boss is on the finance team. He approached me while I was baling corn stalks one day, “I just started with this company FBN , it’s pretty cool, and we’re looking for Loan Advisors, would you be interested?”  I was pretty happy where I was, and he said it was a start up. That got me a little nervous, because I had never worked with a startup company before. Everything I had worked at was well established, but I said “well, I’m not opposed to hearing them out.” I went to the interview process and just kinda fell in love with it throughout the interview process, the idea, and the direction that FBN was going. I thought it was a really neat opportunity where I could get in on the ground floor. I thought it was pretty cool after I talked to TJ Wilson and Dan English. Why did you ultimately decide to join FBN ? What did this thought process look like for you?   On the personal side, I met with TJ first and I thought “This is a guy I could work for.” He was great in the interview, and I felt I had a real great connection with him and Dan. The way that FBN is set up in the finance department, the model that they presented to me, just really caught my attention and made me think “Man, they’re serious, and this thing could really be something pretty spectacular if it comes to fruition.” In my two years here it has done nothing but meet expectations, if not exceed expectations, and they were right: it is what they said it was, plus more, so I haven’t regretted it a day. It’s a great place to work, the best job I’ve ever had, and the people here are awesome.  The finance department, our model, is based on teams, and they put together great teams, and tools for us to use.t’s been a breath of fresh air. We’re meeting the budget or exceeding it by quite a margin. We’ve been very successful in the model that they’ve put before us.   Now that you’ve joined, how would you describe FBN’s culture and what it’s like to work here?   When I think about my previous experiences, it seemed like ag lending was not as respected, not as high priority on bank boards’ lists. They were kinda stuck in a rut, not wanting to change things. The days got kind of mundane. Doing the same thing over and over and over again, and it seemed like when you presented a credit, it was scrutinized to the hilt. It was getting tougher to get guys money. It just didn’t seem like agriculture was their top priority, whereas here, from the management to the very lowest of the totem pole, if we bring up an issue, or an idea, you really feel like they’re going to take it into account, and do something about it. Taking ideas, running with them, trying new things. We’re still in our infancy stages, and you can tell that they really want to make things work, make things really good, and no idea goes unresearched. On the team, we have numerous years of experience, and you can always turn to somebody who has some experience in that area. As an Ag Lender, corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle are what I’m used to, and now I’m doing loans for coffee and different varieties of produce. Stuff that I had no idea of until I got into it and learned from other people in the finance department. Everybody is knowledgeable. You can certainly find someone who has an idea of what’s going on, and in my old system I didn’t have those avenues to go to. It’s fun to be here.  I don’t mean to run down my old institutions or anything. A lot of these places didn’t have a whole lot of experience in agriculture, so they were scared of it. They didn’t know. My bosses were mostly commercial lenders. They didn’t understand agriculture, whereas here everybody’s done ag. Everybody understands it, and it’s refreshing. I’s nice.  We know you have a life outside of work - what kinds of things do you do for fun?   I am actually a farmer myself. This is my farm office that I’m in right now. We raise cattle, corn, soybeans, and that’s kinda what I do for my hobby. When I’m not working at FBN I’m working in the field, or with cattle. My dad runs the corn/soybean operation. I run the cattle operation. On a day to day basis, it’s just me and my dad and my wife. My dad has farmed since the 70s, and I started farming when I graduated from college, but I’ve been involved in farming pretty much all of my life.  What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone considering FBN ? If you decide to come on, you’ve made the right choice. It’s a total package when it comes to ag finance. If you decide to join up, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or ask for help because there’s always someone out here who will help you. FBN as a whole is a great, great company, and headed in the right direction. Don’t be scared to join, because it’s the place to be. From top down, it’s been nothing but great. Genuinely, FBN is a great place, a great culture, the people are great, and we’re headed in the right direction. I couldn’t ask for anything else.  Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, Farmers First flag logo, "Farmers Business Network," "FBN," and "Farmers First" are registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Terms and conditions apply.


25 July 2022

by Mark Wilson

Andy Single partnered with FBN® as a Community Builder 2 years ago and is based in Dubbo, New South Wales. Andy grew up on a farm in Wellington and has a close connection with the agricultural industry having worked in a number of roles over the past 35 years.  He currently leases out their family farming properties located in Wellington and Wee Waa, which gives him time to focus his efforts on the Community Builder program. When asked what he loves about the agricultural industry, Andy has one word, “people.” Andy's decision become a  Community Builder was centered around the purpose of 'Putting Farmers First' by delivering transparency on prices, the flexibility in the model and allowing farmers to purchase their agricultural inputs .  He also sees merit in the campaigns offered for farmers such as the bundle offering and 0% financing. It also eases the burden on him financially as a small business, as his capital is not tied up in carrying product and if it wasn't for FBN he would be limited to the amount of volume he could sell to farmers. One of the keys to his success is having his Account Executive Simon Uphill support him with market intelligence and always being available when required. He describes him as honest, trustworthy and really enjoys taking Simon on the road to meet his clients.   With Andy, the best branding and marketing campaigns start with strong relationships with his farmers. He describes it as the 'Cup of Tea Test'. Andy feels very strongly about the importance of the Community Builder program and the integral part it will play in his community in supporting his local region and farmers. In Andy’s opinion, the future of agriculture will be based around farmers continuing to be innovative through technology and R&D. The next generation of farmers are not focused on loyalty to their local stores but more focused on moving towards price and margins. Farmers are moving away from the inhouse agronomist and keen to work with independents. Andy's goal as a Community Builder is to grow his book to $5 million within the next 12 months.  Interested in diversifying your income? Become an FBN Community Builder today.  Legal Disclosure Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply.


07 July 2022

by Mark Wilson

FBN came to Australia in 2020 with a mission to democratise information for farmers by providing unbiased analytics and creating competition for farmers’ business. Our goal was, and still is, to connect farmers by using advanced information and doing business in a fundamentally different way.  That’s why you’ll be able to get more farming done, anytime, anywhere when you shop on FBN.com. But what are the benefits of online farming with FBN ? When you shop with FBN you’ll always get: Convenience Potential opportunity to save on crop protection Transparent list pricing That’s what we’ll always offer but when you shop with us but here are four more reasons why you should be shopping on FBN.com: 1. Quality crop protection products FBN Direct® carries a wide range of crop protection products like adjuvants and herbicides as well as crop nutrition products like high uptake nutrients. Our platform also assists you in identifying label required or recommended adjuvant pairings with crop protection products. 2. Transparent list pricing  With transparent list pricing, you’ll get the relevant price information on the inputs you’re buying to make informed decision for your farm.  3. Data analytics FBN was launched as a source of farmer-driven information and data. Our data analytics platform anonymises and aggregates member information to help you make more informed decisions for your operation.  4. Free direct-to-farm delivery Delivery is free on all orders in Australia. You can choose your delivery date and schedule and track your orders. Enjoy the convenience of delivery direct to you, putting more time back in your day. 5. Free membership FBN membership is always free*. As a member, you’ll have access to free tools such as yield prediction, satellite imagery and custom analytics and reports. Tracking your crops throughout the season has never been easier and you’ll always know what’s going on in your paddocks.  “ FBN has more to offer growers than products. The data analytics tool can make such a huge difference to all Australian farmers. FBNs impact is still in its early days in Australia, but over the next 3 years it will make inroads with its data analytics and additional products/services it will introduce to Australia,” says Community Builder Brodie Bridgman .  Sign up to become a free member*.  Copyright © 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. "FBN" and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Products and services are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. and are available only where licensed. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice.  Terms and conditions apply. Testimonials are not indicative of future performance or success; results may vary. FBN® merchandise provided in recognition of testimonials. Members were told in advance they might be featured in an ad. *Fees may apply for certain product and service offerings other than FBN membership.


28 June 2022

by Mark Wilson

Buying animal health products can be cumbersome but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s face it, livestock producers and ranchers are busy folks.  But setting your operation up for success means that you don’t always have time to run errands in town, sometimes not finding what you need in stock.  That’s where FBN® comes in. Now you can get animal health products shipped directly to your farm or ranch. The best part? We offer free shipping on orders over $500.  FBN’s online animal health store has upfront prices allowing you to compare products and choose what is best for your operation. When you’re ready to order, just add the items you need to your cart and submit your order.  Here are some of the ways you can save by shopping for Animal Health products with FBN .  1. Compare products and prices We carry products from all of the major manufacturers so you’ll also be able to find branded products you know. We also carry plenty of generic alternatives that are effective but usually cheaper.  Here’s an example: if you’re searching for Draxxin® by Zoetis, you’ll see comparable products like Arovyn and Macrosyn listed for comparison.  2. Big order discount By planning ahead for your weekly, monthly or quarterly animal health product and supply needs, you’ll qualify for discounts that are applied to your cart every time you order. The great thing about this is that there is no waiting for rebate checks.  There are two tiers to qualify for these discounts. (*some restrictions apply) Spend $3,000 or more on animal health products and supplies and receive 5% off your entire animal health and supplies order. Spend $5,000 or more on animal health products and supplies and receive 8% off your entire animal health and supplies order. 3. Free shipping It doesn’t get much better than free shipping on orders over $500 with products delivered directly to your doorstep.  4. Manufacturer pricing programs We honor and facilitate manufacturer pricing programs. If you are already on a program, such as Zoetis Leaders Edge , we can set up your FBN account to reflect that pricing and be visible to you when you are shopping on the FBN online animal health store.  What’s available on FBN ’s Animal Health store? Whether you’re looking for antibiotics or vaccines, you’ll find everything you need on FBN ’s online animal health store.  Here are some of the product categories you can shop for with FBN: Vaccines Antibiotics Parasiticides & Dewormers Insecticides Implants Reproductive Products Anti-inflammatories Other Drugs & Treatments Animal Health Supplies Shop Animal Health products Find all of the animal health products you need by shopping online at the FBN Animal Health store .  * Terms & Conditions Qualifying locations FBN Direct® pharmacy products and services are offered by FBN Direct and are available only in states where FBN Direct is licensed. Terms and conditions apply. Qualifying products Minimum order subtotal applies to animal health products or supplies only (vaccines, antibiotics, parasiticides, implants, reproductive products and supplies). Does not apply to feed, feed additives, milk replacer, or other livestock nutrition products. General requirements FBN Member Account Must schedule a delivery window at time of ordering. Delivery must occur within 3 months of purchase. For customers on manufacturer contract or loyalty programs (e.g., Zoetis Leaders Edge, One Merck), this discount will not be stacked with products eligible for those programs. It will be applied to any non-contract items. Available while supplies last. All sales final. Program details subject to change. Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, "Farmers First" and “FBN Direct” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Draxxin is a registered trademark of Zoetis Services LLC. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LCC is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. If applicable, please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply. Disclaimer: The material provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, business, legal, investment or professional advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager. Neither Farmer's Business Network, Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. 


23 June 2022

by Mark Wilson

Last week, the Federal Reserve hiked its interest rate by 0.75% in an effort to combat inflation. And while markets are expecting a similar rate hike in the not too distant future, this is a first step to decelerate inflation which is at its highest in the last 40 years.  According to Kevin McNew, Chief Economist at FBN®, the Fed will need to do more interest rate hikes in the next 6-12 months. Join Dan English, General Manager of FBN® Finance and Kevin McNew as they discuss why the Federal Reserve decided to hike interest rates, what that means for farmers and how FBN can help alleviate some of the uncertainties of a fast changing economy.  What you’ll learn Click on the chapter links within the video to jump to each section: Why the Fed increased interest rates (00:10) What farmers should focus on (04:39) Why to consider Farmland Capital (05:24) What’s happening in the energy market (08:05) What it means for farmers (11:48) Watch now Solutions to grow your business Farmland Capital Farmland Capital provides you the capital you need without impacting your original loan. Learn more here or start your application today . Operating lines Inflation is impacting everyone. Operating lines will help you fund your operation as you see fit. Apply today and get your approval decision instantly. Land loans Rising interest rates might not impact your decision to purchase the perfect land. We want to help you finance your dream, apply for a land loan now . Crop insurance Inflation is impactful and everything counts. Protect your crop commodity and learn more about our personalized crop insurance solutions . Read the full transcript Dan English (00:00): I'm Dan English. I'm the general manager of FBN® Finance. And I'm here today with FBN's Chief Economist Dr. Kevin McNew. Hi Kevin. Kevin McNew (00:08): Hey Dan, how are you doing? Dan English (00:10): Good. Well I think as a lot of people have seen now last week, the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates quite a bit.  And I think even a little bit more than what had been expected, maybe two or three weeks before that. Maybe could you just walk me through what the news was that prompted the Federal Reserve to raise rates and what that means? Kevin McNew (00:32): I think the Fed is realizing that they got a late start to this inflation issue. You know, a lot of us in the economic world have been saying for the last year that inflation is a problem and they're just now kind of getting their act together.  And they did need to raise interest rates a quarter of a point more than what was maybe expected, but absolutely it's needed.  We have inflation that is well over 8%, 8.6%, according to the last reading, which is  at or above the highest rates we've seen in over 40 years. So the Fed has a lot of work to do. I don't think this is the end of the inflation or the interest rate hike story.  Markets are already kind of expecting another similar magnitude rate hike in the next meeting next month and probably another half a point gain before the end of the year. So yeah, we've got some interest rate movement company to curb this runaway inflation, Dan English (01:33): Do you think that the Fed is going to be acting like this is aggressive enough? Or do you think that they'll have to continually revise upward what they're doing to be able to combat inflation? Kevin McNew (01:46): Normally, the Fed is really trying to watch inflation, unemployment, the economy, and really in the last 30, 40 years, we haven't worried too much about inflation. And so having to watch inflation is a new issue. The Fed's going to  have to deal with it.  And, and like I said, they got a late start to it, obviously because of the issues around COVID. And I think they're going to  be laser focused on what inflation is doing as a result of raising interest rates. They don't wanna put the economy in a recession, but their number one priority right now is tamping down this inflation that is just really problematic for the economy going forward.  So I think it's all going to  be about inflation readings as we get new data coming out. We're going to  see some pull back and economic activity and surging prices. I personally don't think we're, we're going to  be seeing something really quickly. That's going to  change the Fed's outlook, which is they're going to need to do more rather than less in the next six to 12 months. Dan English (02:54): Do you expect that raising rates, dialing back their bond buying program, all, all the efforts that they're doing to have more restrictive monetary policy that's longer or your interest and higher, you know, baseline expectations for years to come? Kevin McNew (03:18): That's a tough one, Dan. I mean, because some of this is definitely, you know, policy related. I was a huge proponent of you the Fed being more aggressive about interest rate hikes shortly you know, six months to a year after COVID because we did inject such fiscal stimulus into the economy and that's now having, you know, profound impacts.  But beyond that, we have what's going on in Eastern Europe, issues with energy prices and all these external exogenous forces that are really out of the Fed's hands. And so, they're trying to do this through a series of interest rate hikes and, and quantitative tightening to kind of throttle back the system, but, there's more action in the global market than the Fed can realistically control.  From your standpoint, as you kind of see and, and see what's going on in the agricultural lending space, I'd be curious if we're in this interest rate environment for the next two to three years, where should we be telling our farmers to focus on?  Should we be focusing on long term debt consolidation? You know, all those kinds of things about investment decisions become so important in this environment. Dan English (04:39): It depends a lot on the farmer's personal situation, their balance sheet. But one thing that we encouraged a lot of people to do and worked with a lot of farmers to do over the last year to two years, was to refinance at these lower rates before the most recent rate hikes.  For folks who have done that, they have a very different problem going forward, which is they have an amortizing loan that they're paying off every year where they have a very low rate. And how do they replace that? How do they cover the additional incremental costs as they, you know, either refinance that to take some cash out down the road or come in with higher and more expensive sources of debt. Dan English (05:24): One thing we're encouraging a lot of people to look at is we have a Farmland Capital program where we can take a second position and they can keep the first position in place.  At the low rate, we think that's going to  be a great option for a lot of farmers. But more generally, I would say the risk of this going even higher still seems pretty significant to us.  And just the pace at which the rates have increased over the last six months has really been astounding. I think where folks can lock in rates for the next 10, 20, 30 years, and have some certainty that they're going to  be able to remain profitable. We're encouraging folks to do that.  If rates come back down they can always prepay and refinance at a lower rate, but where they can lock in longer term, we think that's definitely the right thing now. Kevin McNew (06:13): As I think back long term, I've been farming all my life and in the ‘80s as a farm kid, I remember the interconnectedness of coming of the ‘70s, roaring with bull markets.  The ‘80s brought hyperinflation and land values going through the roof. And then in the early ‘80s was a big farm depression. I know there's many gray-haired farmers out there that have the kind of experience that have seen these kinds of ebbs and flows.  What I've been telling them as it relates to farmland is I don't think we have a huge downturn in farmland values, and we don't see a huge recession or depression even in commodity prices, because it's a much different story today than it was in the ‘80s where we had oversupply issues. This is not that situation. We don't have an oversupply issue.  We have an over demand issue and commodity prices may back down a little bit but I think farmland values don't tank and bottom out or, or turn south quite sharply. If there's ways to capture more farmland as they fall down, or in your case you mentioned the Farmland Capital situation, that's a really intriguing concept. Dan English (07:31): I think for farmers who are looking who may be concerned about that, that's a way for them to take a little bit of risk off the table while still being able to have upside control and ownership of their farm.  One thing that we're paying very close attention to on the financing side is will farmers be able to support their farm at these, you know, lower prices? Maybe you can just talk a little bit about what the forward curve of green prices are doing. And it sounds like you think some of these prices are here to stay for at least a little while. Kevin McNew (08:05): They're definitely catching up as we get more permanency around the demand side of the story. A lot depends on energy markets and I don't think the energy situation is going to improve dramatically.  Obviously, a lot depends on the situation in Eastern Europe. Overall we're in a much different energy paradigm.We're trying to make this global transition from fossil fuel based energy to clean energy. And that's not a simple, easy solution. It's going to involve a lot of volatility. And I think this is just the start of what will be at least another decade of volatility in the energy markets, which in my opinion means more benefits for agriculture as we are linked in the biofuel space.  For 15 years we've been linked with ethanol but now there's such a big push around renewable diesel and that translates into demand for soybeans, for example. So I don't see a ton of downside risk, as I said, it's not to say we won't have ups and downs. But the forward curves are starting to look better and catch up. I do think the days of $3 corn and $8 beans are probably pretty far behind us until something dramatically shifts either in the energy sector or other other places. But there's just so much pin up demand if you will. Dan English (09:33): That's great news for our farmers. And one thing that I know a lot of people see as one of the drivers of energy is the war in Ukraine and the resulting markets. It sounds like even if that were resolved tomorrow, we're talking about more fundamental issues than the short term issues.. Kevin McNew (10:00): Economists will call it a knife edge solution as we try to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. A knife edge is really razor thin. And so a nice, smooth transition is very hard to achieve because there's so much imbalance.  Just to give you some perspective, since COVID, we have seen a downgrade in refining capacity in the U.S. and that's not out of coincidence. That's because the big oil companies are recognizing either internally or from pressure from outside investors that they have to shift to clean energy.  We're still a society that's heavily dependent on fossil fuels, but the supply of those fossil fuels, whether from crude oil, from refined products, is dwindling because of this pivot. And so, again, it's not an easy solution. I do think you're right. If we did get Russia and Ukraine to resolve for some reason, there'd be a pullback. But I don't think we're done with the days of a hundred dollars crude and $4 or $5 gasoline and diesel you know, for any time period. Dan English (11:22): Well, that's good news for our farmers.  Last question I have for you. Is there anything that you know, could fundamentally alter the inflation picture in the U.S., aside from what the Fed is proposing to do, or is this going to  be something that's kind of hard fought, there's going to be rate increases and it's the situation we're in? Kevin McNew (11:48): This is going to have a pullback in investment and all of the investment things that are driven, whether it's real estate, especially home values. But for our farms, I think we're so tied to food, which has an exceptionally highly elastic demand.  That means it doesn't respond much to prices. People have to eat is the main take home message. I think from our farm sector standpoint you know, what would change the paradigm substantially is if energy markets collapsed.  It's hard to see a scenario where that happens. If we go back to the last big energy market downturn of 2007 or 2008, we went from $140 barrel oil quickly down to $40 and $50 barrel oil.  That was really because we saw China on this meteoric rise as a global economy and we needed a throttle price where we could pull back demand.  Until we start to see real signs of demand and pull back, it's hard to see where inflation starts to get tamed. Not saying it won't happen but the numbers I watch and the things I see, we're just not seeing the demand pull back and in the commodity space, I think that's really true. Disclaimer: The material provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, business, legal, investment or professional advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager. Neither Farmer's Business Network, Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed. Financing offered by FBN Finance, LLC and its lending partners. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify, a borrower must be a member of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. and meet all underwriting requirements. Interest rates and fees will vary depending on your individual situation. Not all applicants will qualify. Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, “FBN Direct” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Products sold or distributed through FBN Direct are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. FBN Direct pharmacy products and services are offered by FBN Pharmacy LLC and are available only in states where FBN Pharmacy LLC is licensed. Terms and conditions apply.


26 May 2022

by Mark Wilson

With hail season upon us, it’s time to think about your current coverage. Watch Kevin McNew, Chief Economist at FBN® and Director of Crop Insurance, Eric Sorenson talk current market conditions and how this can affect farmer's decisions when it comes to crop insurance for the rest of 2022. What you’ll learn  How weather and the war in Eastern Europe have affected wheat markets The threat of hail and how to protect against that risk The effects of La Niña Watch now Want to learn more about crop-hail insurance? Connect with an agent today to get your questions answered and learn how a crop-hail insurance policy can protect your profit potential this season. Transcript Eric Sorensen (00:00): Kevin, good to talk to you again. Let's catch up a little bit. There's been a lot that's happened since the last time we spoke. I know the markets have really been on a tear for a long time now. It just seems like there's no end in sight here. We've had a few blips up and down lately, but  it's still holding in there pretty strong. Do you mind just giving us a little bit of a summary of where we're at now in the markets for some of the major quality crops? Kevin McNew (00:26): Winter wheat's getting close to getting cut, you know, as we enter harvest pretty soon and wheat prices are screaming. Prices obviously respond to the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe that shows no end in sight. And the issues that we highlighted two months ago are still firmly in place. So we definitely look for wheat values to stay at record highs, if not continue to push higher. And, you know, there's hints of problems in the Southwest Plains around the crop. But you know, it's spring, it's gonna be summer, it's stormy weather season and, you know, there's hail happening out there. I see hail alerts pretty much every day and you know, Eric you're in crop insurance and you know, I'm a wheat grower, that's got $11 wheat sitting out there looking nice and plump with big heads. What do I need to think about here? Eric Sorensen (01:18): You basically hit, hit the nail on the head there. You really need to be thinking about hail coverage. I think what we're gonna see this year and what we're already seeing in some areas are those producers that have some wheat out there, especially if it's in good condition. It doesn't have to be in great condition, but if it's in good condition where there's some meat on the bone, there's something worth protecting. We're seeing some hail sales, certainly there's places where people actually have some very good wheat where they've got the right precipitation, the right weather for it. Obviously with these kinds of prices, pretty unforeseen in some respects, a little bit of hail goes a long way as far as hail coverage goes. I always try to look at as a risk consultant, what can go wrong? Eric Sorensen (02:06): And is there anything I can do to protect against that risk? And right now, you know, the closer and closer we get to harvesting wheat I just think about hail and the risk out there right now. I know a while back, it's probably been several weeks ago now, Kevin, but you were talking about the effects of La Niña and how that's kind of lingering on. You said that in some areas of the U.S., it's gonna call for some kind of extremes in the weather. I think we've seen that in a broad part of the U.S.. Look at that drought monitor and it's kind of the, the haves and the have nots for moisture, right? The Western doesn't have it, the Eastern wishes the spigot would shut off so they can get some crops planted. Eric Sorensen (02:51): We need to look at some hail coverage. The other thing that I think could take people by surprise is that, you know, hail coverage in a lot of areas where wheat's grown isn't that expensive for what you get for coverage. You might be like a 1, 2, 3% type rate, definitely worth looking into. The other thing I'd say is to make sure that you look at what your multi-parallel coverage is and make sure you’re properly covering the value of that crop. Kevin McNew (03:21): Eric, you mentioned that, you know, the haves and have nots this weather season. I think what that's setting up is this kind of battleground at the, in between places, which is kind of, you know, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, where we're seeing hail outbreaks that are pretty sizable because of that confluence of dry and wet and cold air that's all coming to head kind of at that epicenter there. And so we are seeing regular outbreaks of hail and you're right, La Niña is fading. But that just means more of this back and forth weather pattern. It can't decide if it's a little bipolar right now. It can't decide whether it wants to stay on the lawn or drift out of the sun a little more neutral. And so it's gonna be a lot of back and forth, I think, over the next couple months, which is important for winter wheat guys, you got $11 wheat sitting out there. That hail damage if it hits can be so detrimental when you have prices as high as they are right now. Eric Sorensen (04:22): That's right. I've seen so many times when farmers might be out there putting up storage for a big crop that's on the way, or maybe even buying some new harvesting equipment, not only to have those plans change or their perspective change when a big hailstorm comes along. So it's definitely important to think about the other thing I'll say is, you know, a lot of our customers, a lot of farmers we've talked to have kind of punted this year on the hail conversation. And I think the reason they have is because they knew that the markets were on a tear at the time we were making crop insurance decisions on the multi payroll and, and that multi was not cheap this year. Probably a good value because of the guarantees out there, but still expensive. Eric Sorensen (05:06): I know we talked to a lot of farmers that were having a hard time making decisions on, on hail. Andwe said, you know, you have the luxury of waiting until there's a risk. And so we certainly don't want to go out there with, you know, a crop that’s peeking up above the ground for the growing point and introducing risk in it without having hail coverage. Butyou know, a lot of people are still struggling with planting, but I think some areas are starting to dry up a little bit and we're seeing some more acres getting planted, particularly corn and beans. I think when they do, they need to make sure they don't forget about that hail because a lot of those conversations it's been weeks now since they've had with their agent. Kevin McNew (05:46): Farmers are looking at their budgets going man fertilizers through the roof and where do I save money? But maybe this year, it's not the year on, on insurance. Eric Sorensen (05:56): Well, that's right. And that money has already been spent, right? All those input costs. And so to your point, Kevin, you know, the way we look at it is we're not trying to add to the cost, but we are trying to cover the cost. And I think that's really important because there's just a lot more to gain this year and there's a lot more to lose. Kevin McNew (06:13): Yeah, absolutely. So good times. And, and a lot of uncertainty ahead, but you know, I think, I think this is a great time to be in agriculture and you know, hopefully farmers will have a good growing season and insurance is probably a big component of what they need to have in their arsenal. Eric Sorensen (06:30): You bet. That's all very important this year. There's a lot riding on things, no doubt. So appreciate it, Kevin. Thanks for the update. Kevin McNew (06:37): Thanks Eric. Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, "Farmers First" are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc.  We are an Equal Opportunity Provider. FBN Crop Insurance services are offered by FBN Insurance LLC (dba FBN Insurance Solutions Services LLC in Texas, and FBN Insurance Solutions LLC in California and Michigan) and are only available where FBN Insurance LLC is licensed. FBN membership is not required to purchase through FBN Insurance LLC, but certain features are only available to FBN members. FBN Crop Insurance is currently offered in the following states: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.


09 May 2022

by Mark Wilson

Ben Rabbone has farming in his blood. He grew up on a family farm but when he wasn’t able to sustain steady income for his father and himself, he made the hard decision to take work off the farm. Ben became an engineer in fabrication but his love for agriculture drove him back to his true passion. He’s been running a hay contracting business for the last 7 years.  Over two years ago, he decided to partner with FBN® as a Community Builder.  He joined the Community Builder program because of FBN’s buying platform which allowed growers to purchase online and at any time was extremely attractive.  “Price transparency was extremely useful for farmers which assists them to understand where the market pricing is for ag chemical, it was also extremely competitive. Direct to farm delivery is great but we do still see support for the local town supplier.” For Rabbone, earning the respect and trust of his fellow farmers is important to him.  “Word of mouth is huge in the bush, it's still the biggest marketing tool. Being part of a trusted brand with growers even though it is a new entrant and going above and beyond for farmers is critical,” he says.  Looking at the agricultural landscape this year could be tough for some farmers according to Rabbone. “With land, second hand machinery, chemical and fertiliser at record prices. Farmers will need to be more selective, so having transparent pricing is a huge benefit.” As he looks to the future, he sees FBN as a leader in the agricultural market. In five years, the younger generation of farmers will come on board and start making the on-farm decisions and he sees independent agronomy advice playing a major role for future farmers.  Being a Community Builder means he’s able to support other farmers in the local community by adding another option for their chem needs.  When he thinks about why the Community Builder program works so well, he’s quick to reply with a simple list: Online buying platform Price transparency Free direct-to-farm delivery Putting Farmers First Interested in diversifying your income? Become an FBN Community Builder today.  Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply.


14 Apr 2022

by Mark Wilson

With the release of the State of Agriculture report a few weeks ago, FBN® took a deep dive into what’s happening in the world of agriculture, how it’s affecting farmers and what to expect for the rest of 2022. This was the first time FBN tackled a broad topic like the state of agriculture in a report. And behind the scenes, the report that was originally conceived ended up being affected by geopolitical events that shook the world and changed the course of how we were thinking about the state of agriculture. Why was it important to produce this report The State of Ag report was part of our Planning Ahead series of content, meant to help our members make knowledgeable decisions ahead of the new growing season. In the report, we talked about how inflating costs were tied to both supply chain logistics and energy prices. But those things are even more impactful now  as the war in Ukraine exacerbates the challenges farmers were already facing before the war.  Kevin McNew is the Chief Economist at FBN and one of the authors of the report. He says that one of the big fears he heard from farmers was that commodity prices are going to collapse. He says farmers are afraid they’ll be stuck paying substantially higher prices for glyphosate and other fertilizers and then see commodity prices tank.  But while some farmers are filled with anxiety and trepidation about this happening, one of the things McNew felt was important was to provide truthful insights about what’s actually happening and what farmers may expect in the coming months.  “I think the value we were able to bring with this report was to be able to say, ‘Look, here’s why we don’t think that’s going to happen.’” How the state of ag changed overnight McNew and his team originally started talking about putting together this report in January, almost 6 weeks before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. One of the factors McNew was thinking about as he started working on the report was to remind farmers that we’ve been in a bull market for 18 months.  As he explained, 18 months of rising grain prices is a long time. There aren’t many instances where grain prices have continued to rise for that length of time. It’s rare to see that kind of prolonged price inflation and grain prices. McNew equates it to a small localized forest fire. As prices continued to rise there was a sudden outbreak of war in Europe, that small fire became a raging rain of fire on the markets.  “We expect the markets will fluctuate day-to-day based on whatever the headline event is around negotiations or talks between Russia and Ukraine. But for all practical purposes, we don’t currently see anything changing that deflates the markets. That’s why we were confident saying that grain prices would likely smash record highs,” says McNew. While he admits this is a bold statement, he says the powder keg of bullish factors that already existed for the last 18 months and the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe meant that there will be long term effects on agriculture for years to come. “You can maybe picture a world where there’s a ceasefire but normalization seems so far removed. We’re talking about Ukraine being literally destroyed as a country. Even if there is a ceasefire, what happens with Russia? Can Russia be brought back into the world markets? Or are they perpetually banished for sometime in the near future?”  While both countries are pivotal and important to global agricultural trade, it’s difficult to imagine a world where these countries are able to return to normal in just months or even years.  How the war affected fertilizer prices Fertilizer prices started rising in the fall of 2021 when Hurricane Ida struck New Orleans. Key manufacturing facilities for fertilizer were damaged throughout Louisiana which slowed and halted production in some instances.  At the same time, natural gas prices were going down because of shortfalls in Europe. So between the hurricane and natural gas prices dipping, we continued to see really high fertilizer prices. It wasn’t until December of 2021 that fertilizer prices started to drop.  By this point, production facilities started to come back online and it seemed as if things would begin to even out. But as the threat of war loomed, natural gas prices started to rise and fertilizer prices once again began to increase significantly.  Ripple effects of current events After the report was released, McNew started to see other factors at play that could have global implications.  He and his team started to see a deeper context around the fact that 30% of global wheat trade is Russian. One of the strategic areas McNew is keeping a close eye on is North Africa as bushels of wheat make their way into lesser developed areas of the continent that are highly sensitive to escalating food prices. North Africa’s reliance on both Ukrainian and Russian wheat could make the region a volatile powder keg as food becomes a political lever. As both wheat and food prices continue to rise, McNew sees the potential for geopolitical instability to spread into both North Africa and the Middle East.  He says current events in North Africa are similar to what happened in 2011 with the Arab Spring. Russian drought in 2010 caused wheat prices to rise and were a catalyst for the uprisings that spread across several Arab nations.  Looking to the future “The key message we wanted to express was to be aggressive about locking in input costs. You need them for the growing season. You need them to maximize your crops. From a price standpoint, get locked in. And from an availability standpoint, you want to make sure you have inputs for the season,” say McNew. McNew says that when he presented his findings at this year’s Commodity Classic in New Orleans, he saw relief on farmer’s faces. McNew admits it won’t be easy for farmers to look at the markets now and be faced with high inputs. He says when farmers sit down and put pencil to paper to figure out their profitability, they may only see the short-term. But look to the long-term and realize that prices fluctuate and could potentially rise.  “I literally could see farmers’ shoulders relax when I told them that grain prices are not done. They are going to keep moving higher in the months ahead. And with that you could see that anxiety leave their body.”  Get the free report Watch a roundtable discussion with the authors of the report as they discuss some of the key report takeaways and get your free copy today. Members can access this report and more in the Reports section of the FBN app. Disclaimer : The views and opinions are solely those of the author as of the date of publication, are subject to change at any time due to market or economic conditions, will not be updated or supplemented after the date hereof and may not necessarily come to pass. The views and opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of all personnel at FBN BR LLC (FBN) or the views of the Farmer's Business Network Inc. as a whole.Neither Farmer's Business Network, Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed. FBN Market Advisory services are offered by FBN BR LLC, dba FBN Brokerage and FBN Market Advisory - NFA ID: 0508695. Commodity trading, including futures, hedging and speculating, involves substantial risk of loss and may not be suitable for everyone. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. 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. For the purposes of quality assurance and compliance, phone calls to and from FBN BR LLC may be recorded. Contact 877-472-4607 for more information.


14 Apr 2022

by Mark Wilson

Matthew Blums is an independent community builder based out of Ceduna, South Australia. As a franchise dealer for John Deere, Isuzu and Toyota, the main focus of his business is to service the farming and agricultural community.  As a local business owner, he understands the importance of sponsoring and supporting local communities. This was the primary reason for partnering with FBN™ as a community builder 12 months ago. FBN links into his dealership which has a large footprint in Ceduna to service farmers.  He’s worked in the agricultural equipment and machinery industry for 25 years. While he worked as a mechanic for eight and a half years, his career path shifted into sales, finance and business management.  “Being actively involved in the selling of vehicles and machinery in the community means we get to see our clients enjoying and reaping the rewards from their purchases. It was a natural progression to partner with Farmers Business NetworkTM. Plus, I take great pride in what we do for farmers,” says Matthew.  He also sees opportunities to do more business as a community builder due to the products and inputs he can offer to farmers in his area. He points to 0% financing as a way for growers who may have had a previous bad season to  be able to afford inputs for the following season. Understanding cash flow constraints and the current options available makes a big difference to growers.  “I believe the one price for all growers in all states levels the playing field. For our current dealership business it doesn't matter who comes through the door, we are always willing to do the business because it could lead to other things.” He says that price transparency, direct-to-farm delivery, finance options and having another competitor in the market were his primary motivations for getting involved as a community builder.  As he looks to continue working and helping growers, he says, “Having another port of call and being part of the FBN network will bring people to our other businesses and to help us grow. It's a win-win situation for everyone. There will always be a future in agriculture. Everyone has to eat in the world, but Ceduna has its challenges with rainfall and the economic environment. Ceduna is marginal country, but we hope to continue to see families stay in the community and to continue to support each other.” Interested in diversifying your income? Become an FBN Community Builder today.  Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply.


23 Mar 2022

by Mark Wilson

Applying an in-furrow fungicide at seeding is a good time management tool for later in the season and an early application could offer protection for up to 4-6 weeks in cereals buying you time to get all those other important “jobs” done. Trial results from across WA have shown that a fungicide treatment at seeding could delay the onset of disease and can reduce the impact of diseases on crop yield significantly.  Early fungicides could be applied as a seed dressing, fertiliser coating or in-furrow mixed with liquid fertilisers depending on your farming operations. Dual applications (Banding and in-furrow), seems to be the most effective way of managing disease with the most consistent yield responses.  In barley, a flutriafol 500g/L application could increase the protection of leaf rust significantly and in stubble infected barley applying an in-furrow fungicide application you can suppress both net and spot- type net blotch. Net blotches are unfortunately fast becoming more common and can cause more than 30% yield loss in susceptible varieties when grown on previous season infected stubble. Field trials done by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Agriculture and Food showed that banding flutriafol at sowing time, combined with a fungicidal seed treatment resulted in a significant increase in control of Rhizoctonia. Rhizoctonia develops rapidly after opening rain and in a worst-case scenario cause up to 25% in yield loss. When root growth is restricted (poor nutrition or limited moisture) and it’s combined with cool soil temperature, the root damage is at its worst and bare patches will appear in the paddock. Crop rotations also play an important role in managing the spread of Rhizoctonia. Cereal on cereal rotations is the worst for spreading the fungi, and as this can’t always be avoided, managing the spread further is important. Seed and in-furrow fungicides Seed dressings and in-furrow fungicides can contain one or more active ingredients and when it comes to choosing the correct fungicide for your farming operations, reassess your disease risk by looking at the seasonal forecast, crop disease forecast for your local area and asses the rotation to understand what disease will be pressuring in that particular paddock. These forecasts are available through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s website.  Seed and in-furrow fungicides offers protection against the following diseases:  Smuts Wheat Stripe and leaf rust  Yellow spot, Septoria tritici blotch  Barley scald  Powdery mildew  Barley net blotch  For more information visit . Triadimefon, flutriafol, azoxystrobin with metalaxyl-M are some registered products that could protect against Stripe Rust in wheat and flutriafol or triadimenol seed dressing could suppress stripe rust in younger crops.  Azoxystrobin/metalaxyl-M actives have proven to suppress early yellow spot in wheat.  To control powdery mildew in barley, early protection is necessary with a registered seed dressing or in-furrow fungicides. Some registered seed dressings are Systiva (Fluxapyroxad) or Uniform (azoxystrobin+metalaxyl-M) can be used as an in-furrow protection. Uniform also has a registration for Rhizoctonia and Pythium control in Wheat and Barley, 2 diseases which have been tough to manage in certain areas. Learn more about fungicides at seeding. Silly seed syndrome Caution and planning is critical when applying Fungicide seed dressings in order to reduce the risk of ‘silly seed syndrome’, where the coleoptile will shoot under the surface, but due to the shortening of the coleoptile due to the fungicide, the shoot may not emerge from beneath the soil surface. Correct placement of the fungicide and seed is paramount to reduce the risk of ‘silly seed’.  Depending on your area, disease resistant varieties are becoming more and more popular to reduce the risk of resistance. Selecting a variety with good disease resistance and rotating crops could reduce the risk of resistance significantly and lower the usage of fungicide in crops. Learn more Please visit our store to learn more about our fungicide products and how they can help your farm program. Sources Fungicides at seeding for management of cereal foliar diseases: powdery mildew in wheat Seed dressing and in-furrow fungicides for cereals in Western Australia Are early fungicide applications effective for yellow spot and Stagonospora nodorum? Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers First", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. The material provided is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal, consulting or any other professional advice. Neither Farmer’s Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed. The information and opinions expressed by others in this material are their own and are not endorsed or approved by FBN or its affiliates.