Financing pours into ag-tech start-ups

The research firm CB Insights says investors put more than $700 million into agricultural-technology companies in 2017, far more than the combined $565 million of the two preceding years, said the Financial Times.

John Deere buys maker of sharpshooting farm bots

John Deere’s $305 million purchase of Blue River Technology, “a startup that makes robots capable of identifying unwanted plants, and shooting them with deadly, high-precision squirts of herbicide,” is yet another indication of the “growing appetite for high tech in agriculture,” says Wired.

Seed startup closes $100 million funding to tackle water scarcity

Seed startup Indigo said that it closed a $100 million Series C investment, the largest private equity financing in the agriculture technology sector. Indigo first came onto the map in February when it unveiled cotton seeds laced in probiotics that conserve water and help replenish the soil. With more funding, the company plans to expand research and launch its first line of probiotic wheat seeds.

Bayer, DuPont join ag-tech investment boom

Two of the largest seed and agricultural chemical companies in the world, DuPont and Bayer, are among five partners in a $15 million accelerator fund to back early-stage agricultural technology companies, says Reuters. The new fund, called Radicle, joins a crowd of investors "hoping to profit from ever more sophisticated tools in the food supply chain, from plant genomics and seed traits, to drones and weather sensors for crops," it said.

Rise of robots a boost to small, diverse farms

The miniaturization of farm machinery may be the ag-tech counter-trend that actually encourages smaller, more diverse farms.