The 3 Best Agriculture Stocks to Buy in January 2024

Stocks to buy

The agricultural commodities sector was one of the hardest hit in recent years, thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine, the two largest wheat exporters, and their conflict disrupted the global food supply chain. Unfortunately, this came just as increasing global food demand collided with constrained production capacity. With the U.N. predicting over 10 billion mouths to feed in a little over two decades from now, food production must increase by over 50% to keep up. Demands are expected to increase, and that perfect storm sets the stage for agriculture stocks to cultivate mouth-watering returns. Here are three of our favorites so far.

Bunge (BG)

A Photo of a blue sign in an industrial campus showing the Bunge (BG) logo.

Source: JHVEPhoto/ShutterStock.com

The first in our agriculture stocks list is Bunge (NYSE:BG), a global agribusiness and food company headquartered in Missouri. It operates through four business segments. The first is Agribusiness, which purchases, stores, transports and sells agricultural commodities like oilseeds and grains globally. Next, Refined and Specialty Oils sells packaged vegetable oils, shortenings, margarine and other food ingredients to food manufacturers and retailers. Following that is the Milling segment, which mills wheat and corn to produce flours, meals, grits and more. Finally, the Sugar and Bioenergy sector produces sugar and ethanol and generates electricity from burning sugarcane bagasse.

In its third quarter, Bunge reported EPS of $2.99, beating the consensus by 26.16%. While Agribusiness revenue decreased to $10.09 billion (from $11.74 billion), its gross profit rose to $645 million. For the full year, the company raised its adjusted EPS outlook to at least $12.50 amid confidence in continued growth. Analysts have a Strong Buy rating with a price target high of $160 or around 69% upside.

In terms of shareholder value, Bunge repurchased about $600 million in stock since last quarter, highlighting the company’s efforts to increase shareholder value. Further, the company recently declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.6625 per share. The dividend is payable on March 1 to shareholders of record as of February 16 and amounts to an annual dividend yield of around 2.7%. 

Corteva (CTVA)

A Corteva (CTVA) sign in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Next on our agriculture stocks list is one of the most prominent agricultural sector players, Corteva (NYSE:CTVA). The company is headquartered in Indiana and operates through two primary business segments: Seed and Crop Protection. The Seed segment develops germplasm, traits and digital solutions to help farmers optimize yield and profitability. The Crop Protection segment provides herbicides, insecticides and nitrogen stabilizers to protect against pests, weeds and diseases. Corteva operates globally across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Today, Corteva has a market cap of over $31 billion.

Corteva reported $2.59 billion in net third-quarter sales, a 7% decrease year-over-year. However, Corteva’s Seed segment saw sales improve to $878 million, up from $862 million the prior year. Strong Seed pricing, which rose 14%, improved the Seed segment’s operating EBITDA, ending at $1.97 billion or a 24% increase. 

Meanwhile, Corteva delivered quarterly EPS of -$0.23. It might be negative, but it still beat the consensus by 11.54%. Supported by these results, analysts maintain a Strong Buy rating for Corteva with a high target price of $67, representing over 47% upside from current levels.

Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM)

red tractor in yellow field with clouds behind it

Source: Shutterstock

Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) is another agriculture stock we like. It specializes in human and animal nutrition, functioning as a manager and processor within the agricultural supply chain. The company is organized into three primary business segments: Ag Services and Oilseeds, Carbohydrate Solutions and Nutrition. Ag and Oilseeds cover raw materials from sourcing to transportation, including products like soybeans and soft seeds. Carbohydrate Solutions focuses on corn and wheat, while Nutrition manufactures and distributes plant-based proteins, natural flavors, prebiotics, probiotics, emulsifiers, natural colors and other specialty food and ingredients. 

Last year’s third quarter generated some strong numbers, and ADM’s latest report demonstrates signs of struggle. Ag and Oilseeds, the company’s biggest segment, suffered the most. Revenue fell by 21.12% or $227 million. Carbohydrate Solutions, however, came in with a reported 48.87% increase in quarterly revenue on the back of healthy demands. Earnings before income taxes were reported at $1.03 billion, about 16% lower than last year’s, but EPS still beat expectations by 8.67%. ADM is confident the next quarter will feature strong growth, raising its full-year earnings outlook to reflect its optimism. Analysts share this optimism, rating the stock a Buy with a high target of $116. Investors looking for agriculture stocks might want to give ADM a closer look.

On the date of publication, Rick Orford did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Rick Orford is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, investor, influencer, and mentor. His work has appeared in the most authoritative publications, including Good Morning America, Washington Post, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, NBC, FOX, CBS, and ABC News.

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