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What is Farmers of North America?

Farmers of North America is the registered business name for Farms and Families of North America Inc, commonly referred to as “Farmers of North America (FNA).”

We are more than 10,000 farmer Members across North America in all sectors of agriculture. We are a farm business alliance with a singular mission” Maximizing Farm Profitability”.

Grain growers currently form the largest contingent among us, but most of us also raise beef and some of us have pork, chicken, dairy and horticultural operations. Our Members are also members in many other farm organizations, from all perspectives, commodity groups and breed associations.

It is important to put aside the narrow and incorrect idea that Farmers of North America is a “volume buying group” as it has sometimes been called. While negotiating price based on volume is part of what we do, it is not the “biggest” thing we do and it is not the primary reason to get involved with Farmers of North America.

In fact, becoming part of the farm business alliance is not like “joining” any other organization or business. Instead of “joining” you are actually “employinga management team that negotiates for farm inputs, encourages new competitive products to be developed, and creates opportunities for you to have an ownership stake in the supply chain for which you are already paying.

Farmer in FieldFarmers of North America is a business strategy to multiply our market power to achieve together that which we cannot achieve alone – assuring the further development of tools and programs for each of us to maximize farm profitability.
(See the Three Pillars for information about the foundational objectives of what is Farmers of North America.)

In practical terms, Farmers of North America is a business alliance of farmers dedicated to maximizing farm profitability.

To serve that mission, Farmers of North America has created strategies, directed through the value chain from input suppliers, on the farm, to international markets. In building the business alliance, its founders understood the need for a sophisticated farmer-centric approach, guaranteeing disciplined attention to Member Service, working with suppliers with strong product research, development, marketing, sales, and distribution, and maintaining an active stance toward government relations.

Prior to approaching any suppliers, Farmers of North America does extensive development work. Management reviews on an ongoing basis what priorities and opportunities exist to maximize Members’ farm profitability. When a specific opportunity is identified, Farmers of North America goes through a process to determine the best way to realize that opportunity. Only if it is decided that the best way is to approach a specific supplier is that approach made. However the opportunity is pursued, it is always done to create competitive options for Members. Third-party suppliers are involved after supporting market research and a clear evaluation process demonstrates they are a good fit for FNA.

Farmers of North America achieves its mission without being a supplier or distributor, but steadfastly remaining a farm business alliance with maximizing farm profitability as the motivating principle.

So, programs start with Farmers of North America establishing a priority for the Members, identifying a supplier who can address that priority, and then negotiating with that supplier to establish the terms under which it may be able to provide Members with competitive pricing and other favorable terms such as direct to farm delivery.

What Farmers of North America is Not

Farmers of North America is not a retailer, manufacturer or input supplier. As noted, Farmers of North America does not actually “sell” Members any products (other than their Memberships). Farmers of North America does directly provide some services such as business and farm management training and systems. FNA does negotiate to build new programs such as the MarketPower Assurance program. But even with those, they are operated by a trusted supplier, not by Farmers of North America.

Rather than “selling” things to Members, Farmers of North America is on the “buy” side of the relationship. We help Members buy well and buy profitably. When we negotiate with suppliers, we are negotiating as if we were the Member who needed those products, with a mind to getting the best possible terms. We alert Members to special value offers provided by suppliers, but even if Farmers of North America Member Services facilitates the transaction, it is the supplier who makes the sale, not Farmers of North America.

Farmers of North America is not a farm policy organization. There are many good general farm organizations, commodity groups and breed associations that serve these purposes well. Farmers of North America sponsored the FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute as a research and education entity, and Farmers of North America provides major funding to that institute. But it is legally independent of Farmers of North America and, unlike Farmers of North America, is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization.

Farmers of North America is not a “not-for-profit” organization. It is a private business organized as a farm business alliance. As noted, the FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute was created as a not-for-profit to pursue those things appropriate to that form of organization.

Farmers of North America is not a co-operative. While Farmers of North America acknowledges the strengths of both the co-operative and corporate business models and even includes some co-op principles in its structure, we believe the Farmers of North America model has distinct advantages.

As a private farm business alliance, Farmers of North America is able to focus on its singular mission of maximizing farm profitability without distraction or disruption. This means, for example, that Farmers of North America does not take a political position on divisive issues among farmers or debates about supply management, or any other partisan or ideological issue. As a private farm business alliance we do not support or oppose any government. There are no Member debates about these issues. We are totally focused on maximizing farm profitability under any circumstances, in any policy environment, under any government.

Farmers of North America is a center of relationships from suppliers, farm organizations and service providers all based on the profitability interests of Farmers of North America Members.

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