Evidence continues to mount that ag is an attractive place to invest these days. News during the past few weeks has reinforced the trend of international investments in agriculture — especially in farm equipment.

While many of the deals are coming from within the industry, a high level of interest is coming from financial investment firms that see agriculture as a good place to put their money.

Here's a quick rundown of activity that's taken place in just the past few weeks:

  • Oxbo International Corp. in the U.S. and Ploeger Agro B.V. of the Netherlands merged to create the world's largest specialty harvesting equipment company.
  • CNH struck a strategic alliance with Brazilian company Semeato to provide planters and drills for the South American market.
  • AGCO purchased GSI Holdings Corp. from affiliates o f Centerbridge Partners, L.P. GSI manufactures grain storage and protein production systems. AGCO cited international expansion as well as synergies in North America as reasons for the acquisition.
  • Both Deere and AGCO announced expansion plans in South America. AGCO also acquired a sugarcane harvester manufacturer.

Also, during the past year, a wide range of other transactions have also taken place, including:

  • Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment signed a cooperative agreement with Feraboli Equipment of Italy.
  • International Equipment Solutions of KPS Capital Partners purchased Paladin Brands.
  • Gregoire Bresson of France purchased tillage toolmaker Rabe Agri of Germany.
  • Kuhn of France acquired Kansas tillage and seeding company Krause Corp.
  • Great Plains bought UK tillage and seeding company SIMBA.
  • Amity International's formed a joint venture with AGCO for international expansion prospects.
  • Kuhn of France and John Deere signed a cooperative agreement to produce a large square baler.
  • German tillage and seeding equipment manufacturer, Horsch, entered into a second joint venture in the U.S. that will allow it to focus specifically on the corn market.
  • Hay tool manufacturer Sitrex SpA of Italy acquired a range of trailed and self-propelled mixer-feeders from Unifast Brand & Engineering.

"More and more, our clients outside North America want to understand the investment opportunities here," says George Russell, executive partner, Currie Management Consultants of Worcester, Mass.

"To complement that, our regional North American clients want to understand the investment opportunities internationally. We're also hearing from private equity companies who see opportunities in agriculture want to understand the investment opportunities in agriculture globally."

"There's a lot of investment capital looking for opportunities in farming," Russell adds. "Growth companies see the current economic environment as the right time to leverage their investments for long-term growth in ag. Access to growth capital is not a problem."