Advances in digital agriculture have the potential to help agricultural industries meet productivity and sustainability challenges. However, these benefits are unlikely to be realised if the social implications of technological innovations are not adequately addressed. The development and deployment of new technologies is shaped by social interactions between people, institutional and regulatory settings – not just the technology itself.
A paper we recently published explores these themes, drawing on interviews with 26 Australian grain farmers and industry stakeholders. We found that issues related to trust are central concerns for many participants. These include procedural concerns about transparency and distributional concerns about who will benefit from access to and use of “farmers’ data”.
The successful design and implementation of digital agriculture depends on ensuring that these technologies respond to stakeholder dynamics within the agricultural sector, including how these novel technologies are understood, adopted and adapted in practice by farmers and other decision-makers. Trusted information and advice networks are likely to be important mechanisms for mediating benefits and risks.
Read the full paper here.
Dr Emma Jakku is the Digiscape Social Dimensions project leader.