Farm Weekly

Network on hunt for local faces for farmer-powered business

FBN Australia's head of sales Tristan Jones and Community Builder Durwin Melbin at the recent Mingenew Midwest agricultural expo in WA.

This is branded content for Farmers Business Network.

Farmers Business Network (FBN), the farmer-driven agtech and e-commerce platform disrupting the way farmers purchase supplies, is on a recruitment drive for regional community members to provide a local presence.

The US-founded service, which launched into the Australian market 12 months ago, is working to build a network of locals to offer on-the-ground support to its growing network of farmer members.

FBN's "Community Builder" program has seen tremendous growth in the past six months with independent representatives now located across the majority of broadacre farming regions around the country.

Their role is to help communicate to farmers in their area how being an FBN member can reduce their input costs as well as plug them into analytical tools and farmer-driven data sharing intelligence to boost their business.

The goal is to have a local presence in all broadacre farming regions across Australia to deliver the value of FBN to every farmer.

FBN Australia's head of sales Tristan Jones said Community Builders could be anyone from a farmer themselves, to someone who is already operating a business that services the ag industry.

"Our aim with the Community Builder model is to ensure we are engaging as best as possible with regional areas and empowering local communities," he said.

"The FBN model is an e-commerce model so we are a online digital business but at the same time we are very much a part of the agriculture industry. The Community Builders are a local presence that means farmers can get information or purchase locally if they prefer but still get the benefits of being part of the network. It's bringing local to global.

"So far, the people who have become Community Builders is quite diverse - from growers and their mates, to independent rural businesses based in local towns."

In West Australia's North Midlands region, fifth generation wheat grower Durwin Melbin decided to take on the Community Builder role in January.

As well as running his property, Mr Melbin has owned and operated hardware and rural supplies business Main Street Hardware in the town of Coorow since 2015.

He was recruited by FBN to become a Community Builder after he contacted them to learn more about the e-commerce platform and pricing structure and says the role sits easily alongside his existing business.

"I could see what FBN has been able to achieve in just a short time in the US for its members and what an opportunity it is for Australian farmers," Mr Melbin said.

Mr Melbin has been impressed by the transparent pricing structure of the FBN marketplace that harnesses the group-buying clout of its membership to deliver lower costs on chemical and seed inputs.

"This is really going to disrupt the old standard style of buying for farmers that has been around forever. It's really exciting," he said.

"The transparency of pricing is wonderful. The prices are there for everyone to look at and it's the same prices whether you're big or small - there's not one price for someone and a different price for someone else. Members can use the platform to compare and price inputs and get the best deal.

"It's always been a challenge [for farmers], the lack of transparency. There are some very frustrated farmers who have assumed they were getting a good deal on their pricing but then find out down the track that they're not getting anywhere near the price they should have."

Network on hunt for local faces for farmer-powered business

Free for its grower members, FBN began in the US eight years ago and now has more than 25,000 farmer members across the US, Canada and Australia, with its community of independent farmers spanning 70 million acres of farmland.

As well as its digital marketplace for chemical and seed inputs, its services to its members include a seed finder that offers access to information on more than 1400 varieties, access to satellite imagery and network-powered analytics, and a networking function to help farmers connect and collaborate.

FBN launched in Australia in August 2020 with the acquisition of Perth-based agtech start-up Farmsave and more than 1000 Australian growers are now members.

Would you like to find out more about becoming an FBN Community Builder? Head to the website or email Tristan Jones at

This is branded content for Farmers Business Network.