New agricultural product logistics center opening in Larchwood, Iowa

Although Farmer’s Business Network has had a headquarters in Sioux Falls for years now, it hasn’t had a logistics center in the Upper Midwest.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 9:15 PM CDT
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LARCHWOOD, IA (Dakota News Now) - E-commerce is no longer limited to large chains and national stores. Many small businesses now offer their own online sales to customers. That’s expanding to all sorts of products as well, and one agricultural product business needs more space.

Although Farmer’s Business Network has had a headquarters in Sioux Falls for years now, it hasn’t had a logistics center in the Upper Midwest. That is until now, with the opening of a new facility just outside of Larchwood, Iowa.

Famer’s Business Network has had a presence in South Dakota and the surrounding states for the better part of a decade. Co-Founder Charles Baron said the company operates an e-commerce service, similar to Amazon but for farmers and producers.

“We started right in the Upper Midwest with a handful of farms in 2014, and it’s grown incredibly quickly.” Baron said.

The company now has customers in every state, including Canada and Australia. It’s been able to do that by providing products to local farmers cheaper through a national network of inventory.

“We’ve been here for many years. But now having our own full-time facility that we manage, we operate with our products and our logistics system means that we can provide much faster, more reliable service.” Baron said.

But one thing it’s been missing is a regional hub in the area. It’s new logistics center in Larchwood, Iowa, will fill that role, sending products to smaller facilities in the surrounding states, as well as operating as a local store for farmers in the area.

“Our sites have become part of those communities. We hire from the community, we service the farmer community in that local area. That makes it something special I think for that connection we have.” FBN Vice President of Global Logistics Jack Cox said.

Cox said the new building is already stocking up on products. Thanks to their network of drivers and locations, they’ll be able to provide products when farmers need them, and anticipate any changing situations.

“We’re putting inventory in those smaller buildings farther out in those rural areas for what customers might need very quickly. But we’re also using other data sources, we’re looking at signals to understand, do we very quickly need to move things from this very large facility to that?” Cox said.

The new facility will also help them better service their smaller centers in the surrounding states. Cox said to be a fast and consistent service for farmers and producers, they need to be thinking ahead of what those customers might need. This hub will help relay that information on faster.

“You have to be very precise, you have to be very consistent. You have to be reliable, and that’s something that people have come to expect with Amazon. It’s one-day, two-day, whatever it is, you expect that that is what they will do. There’s a tremendous amount of work, and there’s a tremendous amount of thought that goes into actually making that happen. That’s what we’ve built this network on.” Cox said.

Cox said the Upper Midwest is one of their most diverse areas with the products they sell. So he says the company can take a lot of lessons away from this new facility.