(Bloomberg) -- John Deere, the world’s biggest tractor maker, will acquire autonomous driving technology startup Bear Flag Robotics for $250 million, a bet that farming will continue becoming more automated.

Automation is thought to be key to solving farm labor shortages, which have long been rife in the sector. Growers are struggling to get enough workers to bring crops from fields at a time when global hunger is on the rise.

“One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the availability of skilled labor to execute time-sensitive operations that impact farming outcomes,” Bear Flag CEO Igino Cafiero said in a statement. “Autonomy offers a safe and productive alternative to address that challenge head on.”

Deere has been working with Bear Flag since 2019 as part of a company program to work with startups that could add value for Deere customers, the company said.

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