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FNA preparing to push south

Canadian ag input buying group Farmers of North America (FNA) is going North American.

Saskatoon-based FNA and its sister supply organization, AgraCity, said Thursday they now have teams on the ground in three states — North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota — to recruit new FNA members.

“When the organization began back in 1999, the name was chosen because we knew that the U.S. was part of the long-term plan,” FNA CEO James Mann said in a release.

In the U.S., where FNA is operating out of Kansas City, farmers are being offered three-year memberships at $2,500 each, the same fee Canadian farmers pay.

Expansion into the U.S. has “a lot of benefits” for both Canadian and U.S. farmers and current members, Mann said, as a broader membership has “the market power needed to balance the monopolistic forces that are capturing far too much of the value of farmers’ work.

Mann, who said his family has “homesteader roots” in both Canada and the U.S., added expansion of membership into the U.S. will “provide benefits for members in both countries that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”

FNA, which provides crop inputs and other farm supplies to farmer members, has an exclusive supply deal with AgraCity — which already has a U.S. office set up in Fort Collins, Colorado — to procure and distribute fertilizers, crop protection, adjuvants, seed and petroleum products.

AgraCity has a “proven track record” of bringing new generic products to farmers and “generating savings in several farm input categories,” according to AgraCity’s U.S. country head, Jeff Novak, in the same release.

“From crop protection to oils and lubricants, American farmers will see products and pricing designed with the farm’s bottom line in mind,” he said.

James Webb, the chief operating officer for FNA USA, also described the company as “a proven model that will definitely benefit American farmers. It’s hard to argue with the kind of success we’ve had north of the border, tearing down glyphosate prices and launching an advanced project to build a nitrogen fertilizer plant.”

FNA in 2012 set up a partnership and began seeking farmer investment in a nitrogen fertilizer plant, which it announced this summer will be built at Belle Plaine in southern Saskatchewan.

FNA and AgraCity this fall also created a new Canadian organization, Genesis Grain and Fertilizer, with a stated plan to build a farmer-owned grain handling and fertilizer sales and distribution company.

To kick-start Genesis’ development, FNA made an offer in October to buy the handling assets of CWB, the former Canadian Wheat Board, but CWB rejected its proposal. FNA has since said it will soon resume its ongoing town-hall meetings with Prairie farmers on the Genesis business. — Network



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