Investing in agriculture is not just for farmers and agribusiness owners. Agriculture is arguably the most essential industry in the world -everyone needs food to survive. Agriculture investments can be a great way to diversify a traditional stock and bond portfolio, but you should understand the underlying industry and any associated risks before making any investments.
Hot Commodities is one of the best investing books every written. Jim Rogers, the co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros dives deep into how to invest in a wide range of commodities ranging from oil, to precious metals, to base metals, to agricultural commodities. This book has an introduction to commodities in general, strategies for how to invest and trade in different commodities, as well as addressing specific commodities later in the book.
I wasn’t sure how much agriculture commodity information was in Hot Commodities so I had to check for myself. The sections outlined in red are either partially or completely devoted to agriculture investing.
2) Mastering the Grain Markets: How Profits Are Really Made by Elaine Kub
Elaine Kub has a lifetime of experience in the agriculture industry from growing up on a calf-cow operation in South Dakota to being a grain trader, futures broker, and farmer as an adult. She has used this experience and expertise to craft Master The Grain Markets, a book that attempts to teach readers how to make money trading in the grain market. This book paints a complete picture of grain trading and the grain industry, in an attempt to help traders understand the fundamentals of the grain markets.
This book is a great read for anyone looking to trade and speculate in commodity futures. Trading Commodities and Financial Futures provides an introduction to options and future trading, and specifically commodity trading (from the basics). The book has been updated to include the effect of high-frequency electronic trading on the markets. George Kleinman introduces trend following trading techniques and his own Pivot Indicator system.
4) Fundamentals of Agribusiness Finance by Ralph W. Battles
The Art of Grain Merchandising is widely regarded as the most complete book about grain merchandising out there. In over 500 pages you will learn the basics of grain merchandising as well as topics like transport, storage costs, and operational aspects of owning an elevator like cold-calling buyers. It’s a must-have book for any grain market participants including traders, farmers, and elevator owners.
6) Introduction to Agricultural Economics by John B. Penson, Oral Capps Jr., C. Parr Rosson III, Richard T. Woodward
Introduction to Agricultural Economics is probably the must-read for any agricultural commodities trader, or agribusiness owner and investor. This book will teach you the basic (and more advanced) economics of the food and fiber industry with a focus on the U.S. but diving into wider issues such as international trade in agriculture, government policies and their role in the industry, and the domestic and overseas consumer.
Merchants of Grain was a groundbreaking book when it was originally published in 1979. It exposed the seven families and five companies that have incredible control over the U.S. and international food industry. The book is definitely dated, being published 40 years ago, and if you plan on reading it you should dive deeper into these ever-present and contemporary issues with additional research. It’s the type of book that just isn’t written anymore.
8) Investing in Farmland: A Complete Guide to Evaluating, Financing and Managing Income-Producing Farm Properties by Murray R. Wise & Jack Brighton
Bonus Agriculture Resources
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service
- Commodities Demystified
- Cereal Secrets: The world’s largest grain traders and global agriculture
- United Nations Food and Agrituculture Organization
- The Economics of Commodities Trading Firms
- NPR Commodity Week
- Commodity.com Soft Agriculture Resources
- National Rubber Study Group
- National Pork Producers Council
- National Cotton Council of America
- National Corn Growers Association