Venture Capital Investment in Agricultural Production up 24 Percent in 2017

A recent editorial in the Omaha World-Herald stated that, “American agriculture is no stranger to technological change. Just compare the Midlands’ planting and cultivation methods in various eras from pioneer times through the 20th century to now. The advancements and refinements have been remarkable.

“In the 21st century, thanks to advanced technology and producers’ embrace of it, the pace of change is picking up even more. During 2017, venture capital investment in agricultural production totaled $4.2 billion, up 24 percent from the year before. Areas receiving particular investor attention included software management, big data analytics and automated equipment.

John Deere, the well-known manufacturer of green-and-yellow farm equipment, spent $305 million last year to buy Blue River Technology, a tech firm that, by its own description, uses ‘computer vision, robotics and machine learning to help smart machines detect, identify and make management decisions about every single plant in the field.’ Precision spraying of herbicides is a particular focus for the company.”

The editorial pointed out that, “Nebraska is home to several homegrown firms exploring new opportunities in high-tech agriculture. Here are three examples:

» iNet Solutions Group is an Omaha-based developer of agriculture-related desktop and website applications and mobile app development. Its clients include some of the country’s largest agricultural cooperatives and trading firms.

» GrainBridge Corp., also in Omaha, provides agricultural risk management software used widely throughout the ag sector.

» Quantified Ag, in Lincoln, has created a biometric ear tag that helps feedlot operators keep closer watch over animals.”

The World-Herald item added, “Change is ongoing for modern agriculture. As always, successful producers will need to stay up to date and, as needed, innovative to meet the challenges.”

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