Ag tech investments double in 2015 despite U.S. farm slump: study

Investments in agriculture technology startups surged to a record $4.6 billion in 2015 despite a steep drop in U.S. farm income and slumping profit at farm-affiliated companies such as machinery producers and seed makers, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The investments were nearly double the $2.36 billion seeded by venture capitalists and others in 2014, according to the annual report from online food and agriculture investment platform AgFunder.

The jump came as net U.S. farm income is projected to drop for a third straight year and as industry stalwarts such as equipment maker Deere & Co and seed and agrochemicals company Monsanto Co face slumping sales and job cuts.

“There’s definitely been a downturn in the broader market, but ultimately the direction of agriculture is going toward an more technologically driven future,” said AgFunder CEO Rob Leclerc.

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