Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Agriculture
Maria A Boerngen
Precision agriculture technologies (PATs) have revolutionized the agriculture industry. These technologies have offered many benefits for farmers, including cost savings and higher yields through improved application of inputs (i.e., fertilizers and herbicides). PATs also allow farmers to conduct experiments through a process known as on-farm precision experimentation (OFPE). By conducting these experiments and collaborating with researchers, crop consultants, and extension agents, farmers can learn site-specific management practices to better address challenges on their operations. However, despite these benefits, adoption rates of PATs in the U.S. have barely eclipsed 50%. Furthermore, there may be some skepticism amongst farmers towards researchers who seek to conduct experiments without consulting with farmers. The literature on OFPE has yet to explore the factors that influence a farmer’s decision to conduct experiments and their willingness to collaborate with researchers. If OFPE is the future of agricultural research, then farmers’ views of the work done by researchers and their willingness to conduct these experiments must be explored.
This study seeks to fill the gap in the literature by conducting a needs assessment on OFPE. This needs assessment is comprised of two phases. The first phase was interviews with 11 Illinois farmers to gain initial viewpoints on farmers’ perceptions of OFPE. The results from the first phase were utilized to develop a survey that was distributed to a broader, more diverse group of farmers from across the U.S. The results from the survey indicate that farmers are conducting experiments on their operations, but are not collaborating with researchers, crop consultants, or extension agents. Furthermore, farmers are willing to collaborate with researchers to conduct experiments, so long as researchers actively engage farmers throughout the research process.
Tibbs, Reagen, "Examining Farmers' Perceptions of Precision Agriculture Technologies and Their Interest in Conducting on-Farm Precision Experimentation" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 1873.