Agriculture Technology is one the fastest growing areas for investment by venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. In 2015, investment in agriculture technology set a record at 4.6 billion dollars of investment in 2015 (Leclerc). Ag Tech is a complex and diverse industry, with many areas for growth for farmers, investors, and industry stakeholders. Investors and entrepreneurs are addressing issues across various sectors of the agricultural industry. Beef, dairy, row crop, permanent crop, aquaculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors are all seeing a surge of investment for technology development.
What makes this situation even more interesting and complex is that each sector within agriculture has a specific set of needs that will differ from the others. I think that this makes for a diverse range of investment opportunities that address many different and unique issues. Based on past numbers it looks like the various sectors within agriculture will have no problem finding investments for the development of new technology, from 2010 to 2015 the Ag industry has seen investment rise from just under $500 million in 2010 to $4.6 billion in 2015 (Leclerc).
Annual Ag Tech Financing (Billions)
The merging of hi-tech companies and Ag companies is still relatively new and investors agree that there is still huge potential for growth in this area as companies try to meet global demands for food, and also try to address consumers needs for access to clean, safe, healthy food. In all sectors of Ag Tech, technological innovation is inevitable and the industry in seeing large amounts of capital invested in the technology with dollars amounts that have never been seen before. Michael Macrie, chief information officer at agriculture cooperative Land O’ Lakes said in an interview with Forbes that “in 2010 he was only aware 20 companies in Ag Tech and that number has grown to over 500 in 2015” (Leclerc). As of 2016, Agriculture was a 7.8 trillion industry representing 10% of global GDP. Experts on this subject like Macrie, believe that growth in agriculture and agriculture technology will continue for several years as companies begin to global food issues. Some of fastest growing areas within ag tech are Sensors, Food modification, Automation and Engineering. Sensors help agriculture by enabling real-time trace-ability and diagnosis of crop, livestock and the status or state of equipment. Food items may benefit directly from genetic tailoring, new emerging technologies are showing the potentially to produce meat directly from a lab. In the area of automation, things are trending toward a large-scale robotic and micro-robot workforce to check, maintain and harvest crops. Engineering involves technologies that extend the reach of agriculture to new means, new places and new areas of the economy. Current statistics in Ag Tech suggest that growth and investment in the field will continue for the near future. As ag tech continues to grow it will be very exciting to watch the relationship between the Silicon Valley and the Salinas Valley, it seems that this area is an ideal location for developing Agricultural Technology, I look forward to seeing all the new innovations.
Leclerc, R. (2016, July 11). The Next Phase For Agriculture Technology. Retrieved February 03, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/robleclerc/2016/07/05/the-next-phase-for-agriculture-technology/#39af3bcc4dc9