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Investment in Ag Technology Reaches Record $25 Billion
USAgNet - 10/26/2016

Investments by companies and venture capitalists in agricultural technology reached a record of as much as $25 billion globally in 2015, and that figure will probably grow again this year. Bloomberg News reports that real-time data analytics, sensors and robots are raising the prospect of the next green revolution and are spurring start ups, according to the report released Tuesday by Boston Consulting Group and AgFunder, which connects investors with agricultural companies and proposals online. The investments include research and development, deals, partnerships, equity stakes and technology centers. Early-stage funding from venture capital firms reached $3 billion globally, up from $900 million in 2013 and $400 million in 2010, the groups said.

Slumping grain, meat and dairy prices have eroded agriculture incomes, sparking more farmers to adopt so-called precision-agriculture methods to help increase efficiency. Companies including Deere & Co. are joining the race to create new products for the market that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates could be worth $240 billion by 2050. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report last week that the new technologies are helping to boost profits.

The technologies encompass everything from granular data analysis that enhances planting decisions to drones that provide field views around the clock. The report's findings reflect a survey of more than 50 executives from seed, fertilizer, meat, grain and farm-equipment companies as well as 15 venture-capital investors.

About 80 percent of large U.S. farmers are using GPS devices to steer their tractors, while 70 percent to 80 percent use yield mapping to determine the most productive areas of their land, the USDA estimates. Crop protection and seed companies have invested the highest percentage of revenue in "agtech," according to the private report.

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