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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Event Recap: AEDE Seminar Series – “Precision Farming Adoption in Ohio: Current Adoption and Anticipated Future Innovation” with Marvin Batte, AEDE Professor Emeritus

Oct. 3, 2012

Marvin Batte, AEDE Professor Emeritus and former Van Buren Professor for the department, presenting at the October 1, 2012 AEDE Seminar focused on “Precision farming adoption in Ohio.” Photo Credit: AEDE.
On Monday, October 1, 2012, AEDE Professor Emeritus and former Van Buren Professor for the department, Marvin Batte, kicked off the AEDE 2012 Fall Semester Seminar Series with a presentation on new research on “Precision farming adoption in Ohio: Current adoption and anticipated future innovation.”

Batte, who is a former AEDE Interim Department Chair, Associate Chair, and Graduate Studies Chair, was a professor in the department for over 30 years. In his retirement, Batte conducts research part-time at the University of Kentucky and remains an important voice in the field of agricultural economics. Over the course of his career Batte has published 54 journal articles, given 85 presentations at scientific meetings, has authored numerous book chapters and has served on the editorial boards of several research journals. 
The research that Batte presented at the seminar has been in progress for a number of years and his work on the project began while he was still with AEDE. The research, which looks at the economics of precision farming, focuses on a suite of technologies that allow farmers to capture crop and soil data, interpret and analyze that data, and use the knowledge gained to better manage their farm industry – Batte is interested in learning if and how farmers are using this technology and what impact this use may have on their industry. Precision farming uses remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and process control in farm management.
The results presented at the AEDE seminar come from a January 2010 Ohio farm survey – this survey has been conducted four times since 1999 with the same target population. Some important results that Batte outlined at the seminar show the important emergence of GPS precision guidance in the farm marketplace over the last ten years, with nearly no farmers surveyed using this resource in the early 2000s, while today 32 percent of famers questioned use GPS guidance to monitor their cropland. The survey also found that precision farming adopters have tended to be somewhat younger, operate larger farms, and have been less likely to have a substantial livestock enterprise on the farm. Additionally, the results showed that those farmers who had more formal education were more likely to adopt precision farming technologies. And finally, perhaps most importantly, the farmers that adopted the precision farming technologies, as a majority, noted that the benefits of precision farming systems exceed the costs of these systems.
An important question that remains, which Batte hypothetically asked the crowd to demonstrate what’s at the heart of his research is: What does the future hold for precision farming technology adoption? Some theories offered by Batte and the crowd focused on the questions of: Will the next stage include automated tractors that don’t require a driver, enabling a farmer to multi-task and control his farm industry from the touch of a remote? How will the farm supply industry adapt to these changes in the farming environment and the emergence of new technologies from their competitors? How will the role of the farmer change with these new technological advances; will the work of farm operators in this new advanced technology environment shift to a focus on contract management?
Batte noted that as a next step in his research his team may expand the survey and data analysis to a national level to look at precision farming adoption and its impact on the US farm industry.
To see Professor Batte’s full presentation please click here.
October 3, 2012