Report On Farmers' Needs, Innovative Ideas And Interests

Maria Kernecker, Andrea Knierim, Angelika Wurbs
2017 Zenodo  
Agricultural and rural regions in Europe face a number of economic (e.g. farm income), social (e.g. abandonment), and environmental (e.g. soil degradation, biodiversity loss) challenges. Smart farming technologies (SFT) are one option that may support farmers in overcoming these challenges. SFT include farm information management systems, precision agriculture technologies, and agriculture automation and robotics. Given the development of SFT, it is particularly interesting to explore how they
more » ... lay a role - or not - in supporting farmers' and their farms. Therefore, the goal of this study was to understand farmers' technological needs and interests regarding farming and SFT throughout the EU. We conducted surveys with farmers in France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Serbia, the Netherlands, and the UK. Farmers were selected according to their cropping system (arable crops, open field vegetables, tree fruits, and vineyards) and farm size class (<2, 2-10, 11-50, 51-100, 101-200, 201-500, >500 ha), for a total of 271 farmers. Surveys were conducted from the beginning of August to late November, and gathered information related to perceptions of farming challenges, SFT potential, information sources for farmers, and adoption. A combination of multiple choice questions, Likert-scale data, and open-ended questions provided insight to subjective perceptions of SFT, how they may help overcome challenges in agriculture, information sources that are important for farmers, and how some of the patterns differ between adopters and non-adopters. Summary statistics in the R environment were used for analysis. While farmers' perception of challenges in agriculture was shaped largely by country-specific contexts, there was an overarching tendency amongst farmers to be uncertain about the ability of SFT to help overcome those challenges. Interests and needs of farmers varied somewhat according to cropping system and farm size, but there was little difference betwe [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.376178 fatcat:xtavqe54sfcsffy4ox5ogpoio4