The PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund ( DBA) and the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF ( MOO) are two products investors can use to steady agriculture volatility.

The two funds take markedly different approaches to tracking this corner of the market. Whereas, like SGG and BAL, DBA tracks a basket of crop futures contracts, MOO provides investors with exposure to the largest and most recognizable companies dedicated to providing the farming industry with chemicals, equipment and other goods and services. Top holdings include Potash of Saskatchewan ( POT), Deere ( DE) and Monsanto ( MON).

The ample diversification that comes with using DBA and MOO to satisfy agriculture demand will help shield the fund against rollercoaster action. However, there is a tradeoff. As evidenced by the two funds' action month-to-date, their respective upside action is noticeable restrained. During this period, DBA has jumped less than 2%, while MOO is up 7%.

I am confident that the food industry will remain in the headlines in the weeks and months ahead as expanding nations around the globe work to feed their growing populations. Harvesting gains from this sector, however, may prove to be a challenging task.

Single crop commodity funds like SGG and BAL can cause headaches for risk-adverse investors. Those looking to take a buy-and-hold approach to this region of the market will be best off setting aside a small chunk of their portfolio to a well diversified option like DBA or MOO.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.


At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any of the equities mentioned.

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