Precision Agriculture, 4, 163±177, 2003
2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
Farm and Operator Characteristics Affecting the
Awareness and Adoption of Precision Agriculture
Technologies in the US
firstname.lastname@example.orgSTAN G. DABERKOW AND WILLIAM D. M
Economic Research Service, US department of Agriculture, 1800 M St. NW, Washington, DC, 20036
Abstract. Precision agriculture (PA) technologies have been commercially available since the early 1990s.
However, not only has the pace ofadoption in the US been relatively modest but a surprisingly large number of
producers are not familiar with these technologies. Using farm level survey data, this study quantifies the role
that awareness plays in the decision to adopt PA technology and allows us to explore the potential for public or
private information programs to affect the diffusion of PA. PA adoption and awareness are modeled as jointly
determined dichotomous variables and their determinants are estimated using a two-stage (i.e. instrumental
variable) logistic specification. The first-stage logit model indicated that operator education and computer
literacy, full-time farming, and farm size positively affected the probability of PA awareness while the effect of
age was negative. Grain and oilseed farms (i.e. corn, soybean, and small grains) and specialty crop farms (i.e.
fruits, vegetables, and nuts) as well as farms located in the Heartland and Northern Great Plains regions were
most likely to be aware ofPA technologies. The second-stage PA adoption logit model, which included an
instrumental variable to account for the endogeneity of awareness, revealed that farm size, full-time farming,
and computer literacy positively influenced the likelihood of PA adoption. Grain and oilseed farms were the
most likely types of farms to adopt PA as were farms in the Heartland region. Awareness, as defined in this
study, was not found to be limiting the adoption of PA, suggesting that farmers for whom the technology is
profitable are already aware of the technology and that a sector-wide public or private initiative to disseminate
PA information would not likely have a major impact on PA diffusion.
Keywords: precision agriculture awareness, adoption, jointly determined variables, logit model
Precision agriculture (PA) technologies have been commercially available since the early
1990s. However, not only has the pace ofadoption in the US been relatively modest
but a surprisingly large number ofproducers are apparently not familiar with these
technologies. A 1998 nationwide survey ofover 8400 US farms indicated that nearly 70%
offarmers were not aware ofPA technologies (Daberkow and McBride, 2000). About
25% ofUS farmers were aware ofthese technologies but were not adopters, while less
than 5% had adopted some aspect ofPA. Compared to other recent agricultural
technologies, such as genetically engineered seed, PA adoption has been modest.
By 2000, 25% ofthe US corn acreage, 54% ofthe soybean acreage, and 61% ofthe
*Economists with the Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service, US Dept. of