FBN Welcomes Conclusion of Canadian Competition Bureau Investigation into Anti-Competitive Practices

Posted: Mar 15, 2022
by Bioenterprise

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Regulator Finds Communications Between Market Players to be of “Significant Concern”

SAN CARLOS, Calif. & HIGH RIVER, Alberta–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Farmers Business Network® (FBN®) the global farmer-to-farmer network and ag tech company, is pleased to confirm that the Canadian Competition Bureau – following a three-year investigation – found evidence that suggested “certain market participants communicated with the goal of influencing suppliers with respect to FBN.”

While the Bureau concluded that the evidence did not sufficiently demonstrate that an agreement existed between competitors in relation to FBN, the regulator stated that it viewed these communications – which took place in the highly concentrated agricultural inputs sector – to be of “significant concern.”

Further, the Bureau warned that firms should be aware that similar communications “could create agreements that contravene the civil or criminal conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act depending on their terms.”

“We appreciate the hard work and comprehensive diligence the Canadian Competition Bureau applied to this issue over the past three years,” said Charles Baron, Co-Founder, FBN. “FBN was founded with a mission to support and enhance the prosperity of family farmers through full price transparency and convenient access to a wider variety of farm inputs, and we hope the Bureau’s clear findings will help ensure a competitive landscape remains available for Canadian farmers.”

FBN has been operating in Canada since 2017, and, as part of its Canadian expansion in 2018, acquired Yorkton Distributors (1976) Ltd., a crop input retailer based in Yorkton, SK. that had pre-existing relationships with many manufacturers and wholesalers of brand name crop input products. FBN alleged that shortly after FBN purchased the company, the manufacturers and wholesalers refused to supply Yorkton Distributors or restricted supply by denying FBN access to rebate programs.

Following a complaint from FBN, the Bureau opened a formal inquiry into the allegations in October 2019. On February 11, 2020, the Bureau obtained court orders requiring the targets and their affiliates to produce records and information relevant to its investigation.

The Bureau found the evidence gathered established that many market participants considered FBN a “market disruptor and competitive threat to the incumbents due to its innovative business model.” The Bureau added that it “considers FBN’s online commerce, price transparency tool and benchmarking technology to be innovations with the potential of increasing competition and facilitating growers’ purchasing decisions.”

“From the very beginning, we have been clear that competition and price transparency are fundamental to lowering farm expenses, so we are pleased the Bureau took our complaint seriously and applied its full resources to the matter,” Baron said. “The outcome only reinforces our commitment to bringing transparent pricing, and quality products and services to the Canadian marketplace.”

About FBN:

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. is an independent ag tech platform and farmer-to-farmer network with a mission to power the prosperity of family farmers around the world, while working toward a sustainable future. Its Farmers First® promise has attracted more than 33,000 members to the network with a common goal of maximizing their farms’ profit potential. FBN has set out to redefine value and convenience for farmers by helping reduce the cost of production and maximize the value of their crops.

FBN members farm more than 80 million acres in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The company has over 800 personnel and offices in San Carlos, CA., Chicago, Ill., Sioux Falls, S.D., a Canadian headquarters in High River, Alberta, and an Australian headquarters in Perth. To learn more, visit: www.fbn.com.

*Fees may apply for certain product and service offerings other than FBN membership.

The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network,” “FBN,” “FBN Direct” and “Farmers First” are registered trademarks or service marks of Farmers Business Network, Inc., or its affiliates. Gradable is a registered trademark of Gradable LLC.


Amy Wolfcale


In Canada:

Martin Cej