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Maria Boerngen

Mentor Department



Since its introduction nearly 40 years ago, precision agriculture technologies have promised to revolutionize the agriculture industry by improving efficiency and increasing profits through increasing yields or decreasing input costs. Precision agriculture can be thought of more than just one technology, but as a whole suite of different technologies that serve different purposes. From the very first GPS-based guidance systems of the 1980s to self-driving autonomous tractors of the future, the goal of precision agriculture has not changed. One of these benefits is the ability of farmers to conduct their own on-farm research and trials. These precision technologies allow farmers to try new production practices, and better understand how these changes affect their operations. And the benefits of precision agriculture technologies are not just limited to farmers. Researchers that are conducting on-farm research can utilize these technologies to conduct their trials. The results from these on-farm trials can then be used in research and disseminated to farmers. However, despite these promoted benefits, the adoption rates of precision agriculture technologies have remained low throughout the United States. Farmers have yet to recognize the benefits of these technologies on their operations, especially the benefit of conducting their own research on their operations. Additionally, there is skepticism in the agriculture industry towards researchers that attempt to answer questions without consulting farmers and their knowledge. Several studies have addressed the low adoption rates of precision technologies, and ways that researchers can utilize farmers’ knowledge to benefit their research. Analyzing the perceptions that farmers have of precision agriculture technologies, and the factors that affect those perceptions and adoption rates, can lead to a better understanding of the complexity of precision agriculture adoption in the United States. Furthermore, researchers can better identify the best practices for conducting on-farm research with farmers.

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