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3 Top Agriculture Stocks: Buy, Sell or Hold?

It's been a brutal year for the sector — and that helps separate the wheat from the chaff

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wheat, agriculture, agriculture stocksIf demographics are destiny, then it’s hard to find a better long-term investment case than agriculture stocks.

After all, people need to eat — and there are more of us all the time. The current global population of 7 billion people is projected to hit 9 billion by 2040.

That’s a jump of almost 30% over essentially one generation — and explains why legendary fund manager Jeremy Grantham is so long-term bullish on finite resources like land, oil and forestry.

In the shorter-term, however, agriculture stocks get whipped around by a variety of factors, from energy prices to acres planted in, say, Brazil. And make no mistake: In 2013, agricultural stocks are getting whipped. Corn prices are declining, fertilizer prices have crashed and headline risks abound. It just hasn’t been a fun year to be in the sector.

But that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities. There are — to both buy and sell.

Here’s a quick look at three top stocks to help decide whether you should buy the bargain, bide your time or just bail out:

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