Association Seeks Definitive Definition of “Precision Agriculture” — What’s Your Vote?

More than two-dozen definitions of precision agriculture have been identified through the years — but which is the best and most definitive? That question has been posed to the membership of the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA).

“We have an obligation to clarify and endorse a definition by ISPA,” Nicolas Tremblay, outgoing association president, told about 470 attendees of the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture in Montreal, QC, Canada. It was the best-attended ICPA event yet, and also the first to be held outside the U.S.

ICPA is taking a three-step process to arrive at a definition. First came an online membership survey that, through something of a plurality vote on fill-in-the-blank open options, arrived at this first-sketch:

“A management strategy that relies on information and communication technologies to determine decisions associated with crop production with the goal of reducing the environmental footprint.”

However, there were no clear-cut winners on any of the fill-in-the-blank options bold-faced in the above. For instance, just behind “reducing the environmental footprint” — Tremblay said he was “a bit surprised” that answer finished first — came “increasing profitability” and “optimizing inputs,” which also have long been major objectives of precision farming.

To drive to a final decision, ISPA next is conducting “co-digital consultation” among its membership using three working definitions arrived at by a small ISPA committee, with an intent to reach final board approval.

Direct input on these three working definitions of precision agriculture is limited to ISPA members, but whether you are or are not a member — what’s your pick? Place your vote in the poll below.

  1. “Precision Agriculture or Precision Farming is a holistic management strategy for broad-sense agricultural and livestock farms which takes advantage of farmers’ knowledge and agronomical expertise together with sensors, ICT and a wide range of technologies and techniques to consider spatial and temporal variability. Its goal is making more informed site/individual-specific management decisions to increase farm efficiency and profitability in a sustainable way, while reducing the environmental footprint.”
  2. Precision agriculture, also called precision farming, is a management strategy that relies on diverse information technologies to improve crop and animal production with the goal of increasing profitability and to reduce negative environmental impact.”
  3. Precision agriculture is a management strategy that uses a wide range of technologies to gather, process and analyse data for the purpose of guiding targeted actions that improve the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of agricultural operations.”

What is the best definition for precision agriculture as proposed by the International Society of Precision Agriculture?

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