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Investing in
the Future of Farming

Food producers must increase crop yields while reducing their environmental impact. Investors looking for emerging opportunities can find different kinds of agricultural technology in the venture capital markets.


As the world’s population grows, demand for food production will increase. Food producers must increase crop yields while also reducing waste, soil degradation, biodiversity loss, and greenhouse gas emissions. Entrepreneurs and technologists are responding by developing next-generation agricultural drones, precision-farming technologies, and analytics tools that improve farm management, minimize risk, and introduce more sustainable practices.


Investors who seek emerging agtech opportunities can find them in the private equity markets. PitchBook, a Morningstar company that publishes tools and data to analyze both private and public markets, tracks agtech venture capital activity across five segments: agriculture biotech, agrifinance, animal agriculture, indoor farming, and precision agriculture. PitchBook counted 854 VC deals in the trailing 12 months to March 2022, worth $12.1 billion. Ag biotech attracted the most funding, at $3.4 billion, while precision ag had the most deals, at 205.


One precision-agriculture technology is soil measurement, which uses physical sampling, in-ground sensors, and remote-imagery sensing to track soil moisture, nutrient profiles, nitrogen fixation, and microbial diversity. Farmers have traditionally used the data to improve crop productivity by allowing more precise application of water and chemicals.


Next-generation soil-measurement technologies have begun to provide the data needed to support carbon farming—the harnessing of atmospheric carbon in soil and crop roots, and its conversion into income via emerging carbon credit markets. U.S. agricultural soils are estimated to be capable of sequestering 10% of annual U.S. carbon emissions, if managed properly.


PitchBook counts 12 soil-measurement venture capital deals in the nine months to September 2021, worth a combined $136 million. Top soil-analysis venture capital-backed companies include Semios, Pattern Ag, Farm(x), Biome Makers, SupPlant, EarthOptics, AquaSpy, Teralytic, GroGuru and Agrosmart. Between them, these companies have raised $323 million in venture capital, according to PitchBook.

Deal value in billions USD
Scale of dot = # of deals (deal count listed below dot)
Trailing 12 months to end-March 2022
Data Source: PitchBook


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Alex Frederick

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