Why Farmers Want to Be Closer to Seed Breeders: Four Farmers Weigh In

Sally Krueger

Sep 04, 2019

At FBN, we believe that farmers deserve more transparency around data, pricing and genetic/parental lineage of seed, so you can manage risk at whatever level fits your farm best. That’s because transparency helps you make better-informed decisions, which ultimately can help you to increase your farm’s overall profitability. 

With the launch of F2F Genetics Network seed, you don’t have to rely on the product development process of a multinational seed company. Instead, farmers like you have the opportunity to work directly with a network of breeders who are developing the next generation of top-performing hybrids and varieties. You can now help breeders to identify the right combination of genetics and traits for your farm. 

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. 

Getting farmers closer to seed breeders matters, so we asked four farmers to tell us why it matters to them, in their own words. 

Dennis Anderson, Alta Vista, Kansas

“Today, it seems like seed has a lot of hands touching it, which just means we pay a higher price. Buying from FBN is a low-frills deal, but that's all right. I'm buying seed—I'm not buying trips and hats and coats.

Knowing where my seed comes from is important. You can look at plots all day, and some products will come in one- or two-tenths of a bushel off of each other and their similar maturities, which each company measures a little differently anyway. Being closer to the breeder gives me more confidence that I know what I’m getting, and that it’s not just some relabelled product from another company.” 

Zack Johnson, Lowry, Minnesota

“So to me, being more closely connected to the breeder is definitely an advantage. It gives you a direct connection to communicate better about what you need. And you’ll get a real answer as to whether that’s something they can work on or not. I think it’s valuable to have access to as much info as you can about the seeds you’re looking to plant, so that you can make the best choices for your operation. I like knowing I have it when I need it.  

I don’t trust all the yield data I get from seed companies. I don’t really trust anything that doesn’t come from my farm, because at least I know how it was managed and how it does on my ground. That’s part of what I like about FBN’s data—I don’t know exactly which farmers it came from, but I can search by region, soil type and other management options, and know that my data is coming from real-world farmers.”

Eric Wappel, North Judson, Indiana

“The closer I can get to the guys that are actually developing the hybrids the better. A lot of seed company reps just bring their book and talk about the hybrid. I want to know more about the parents of that hybrid, how they react in different situations and what other hybrids I may know came from that female and that male. I want to see if there’s a pattern to how they react to different weather and soils, and what their disease characteristics are.

You can learn a lot from an inbred and a seed corn production field about the hybrid that you're going to be planting. So the more information, the closer to the breeder, the better.”

John Heitkamp, New Bremen, Ohio

“I don’t know a lot about the breeding industry, but if it could be closer to the farm, I’m all for it. There are so many people these products go through before they get to the farm—if we can eliminate a lot of that in-between, and help my return on investment, that's the approach I have to go with.

When I went to Farmer2Farmer in Omaha, I got to actually talk to the head of seed for FBN, and he explained just the number of breeders that are actually out there, but they've had limited options for bringing their seed to market. Just hearing directly from people like that gave me the confidence to purchase F2F Genetics hybrids this year.” 

Farmers like you are participating in accelerated seed innovation instead of just passively consuming what seed companies determine is best for your farm. 

By bringing new and different genetics separately from trait technology, we have the opportunity to bring you F2F Genetics Network seed products 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. 

Sally Krueger

Sep 04, 2019