Today the food we eat poses many challenges to us, from how it is grown to how it is distributed to consumers. However, as with most challenges, opportunities are also present. In this case, it may be investment opportunity, one that also allows you to follow your heart. If you are interested in socially responsible investing as a way to give back while putting back funds for your financial future, AgTech may be of interest.
According to Wikipedia, agriculture technology is the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture with the aim of improving yield, efficiency and profitability. AgTech has emerged in the last 10 years to respond to social concerns of a growing global population, the environment, food security and potential decline of farming. This concern seems to be more on the radar of younger investors than for seasoned investors. But its appeal is spreading and gaining momentum. As investors become more aware of growing social concerns, they are realizing that current trends may also be pointing to new opportunities.
There are all kinds of ventures to become involved in beyond actual farm land. Maybe vertical farming or hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic farm facilities are gathering interest. Vertical farming is simply growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled-environment and is designed to optimize plant growth in reduced space with soilless techniques. And that leads into other techniques for growing: hydroponics, using nutrient solutions and no soil; aquaponics, using nutrient solutions in water and no soil; and aeroponics, using an air or mist environment and no soil.
The fascination and growing activity in these different horticultures have even prompted their inclusion in the Senate 2018 Farm Bill. The bill covers emerging agricultural production, including these subsets and any other innovations in agricultural production as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. The Farm Bill creates the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production whose mission is to promote urban, indoor and other emerging agriculture practices, including those listed above, community gardens, rooftop farms, greenhouse farms, etc. Opportunities!
This doesn’t mean field farms will be disappearing in the near future but will likely remain the primary method of raising our produce. Therefore, since investment in farmland has had a steady performance over the past several decades, it remains a good option for the investor. Agriculture is a huge business that not only involves the actual growing, but the entire chain of businesses from the beginning of field analysis to the final stages of food production. The entire agribusiness encompasses some of the largest companies in existence, including names like John Deere, Yara, Cargill, Wilbur Ellis, General Mills and Kellogg, just to name a few.
A fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ professional can help you see the big picture, to achieve your financial goals, and to help satisfy some of the greater desires of your heart. It all adds up to your worthwhile planning, investing and living!
Have a great weekend!