Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorRuder, Sarah-Louise 13:41:11 (GMT) 13:41:11 (GMT)
dc.description.abstractDigital technologies and big data are revolutionizing agriculture, but the implications for equity and sustainability are uncertain. From big data climate forecasts and massive robotic tractors, to satellite pest control and precision agriculture drones, digital farming is taking off in traditional agribusiness and agri-food start-ups and receiving positive attention from governments and the media. Proponents claim that digital farming will improve efficiency, productivity, and profits for farmers and address food system challenges, including food security for a rapidly growing world population. Critics are concerned about the distribution of risks and benefits, particularly between farmers and corporations, as well as the possible adverse effects for justice, quality of life, and the environment. The digital agricultural revolution could either enhance or degrade food systems; however, it is more likely that the implications will be uneven and contradictory. While there is growing attention in the social sciences on the social and political implications of digital farming, there remains a dearth of empirical studies in the emerging discourse. This thesis considers the following research question: How do Ontario grain farmers perceive digital farming, and how do their perspectives compare to public debates and academic research? Given the prevalence of grain operations, high farming population, and leadership in ag-tech innovations, Ontario is an ideal context to study farmer perceptions of digital farming. To answer the research question, an abductive and constructivist study design employs a suite of qualitative methods in line with three objectives. First, a review of academic and grey literature identifies key narratives in digital farming debates, focusing on the views of proponents and critics. Second, a combination of qualitative methods – including an online questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and fieldwork observations – generates a rich depiction of Ontario grain farmer perceptions of digital farming and the challenges and opportunities it presents. Third, abductive analysis considers the results as a whole to compare farmer perceptions with central themes in emerging discourses. Emphasizing political dimensions and farmer experiences, the discussion centres on the implications of digital farming for power relations, data concerns and knowledge, agricultural labour, and environmental impacts. The thesis offers empirical contributions and proposes directions for theory development in a nascent research community.en
dc.publisherUniversity of Waterlooen
dc.subjectdigital farmingen
dc.subjectsmart farmingen
dc.subjectprecision agricultureen
dc.subjectbig dataen
dc.subjectfood systemsen
dc.subjectinformation and communication technologyen
dc.subjectfood studiesen
dc.subjectpolitical economyen
dc.subjectscience and technology studiesen
dc.subjectpower relationsen
dc.subjectdata governanceen
dc.subject.lcshagricultural innovationsen
dc.subject.lcshdata processingen
dc.subject.lcshtechnology transferen
dc.subject.lcshtechnological innovationsen
dc.subject.lcshbig dataen
dc.titleA Digital Agricultural Revolution: Ontario Grain Farmer Perceptions of Digital Farming and Big Dataen
dc.typeMaster Thesisen
dc.pendingfalse of Environment, Resources and Sustainabilityen, Resources and Sustainability Studies (Social and Ecological Sustainability)en of Waterlooen
uws-etd.degreeMaster of Environmental Studiesen
uws.contributor.advisorClapp, Jennifer
uws.contributor.advisorCollins, Andrea M.
uws.contributor.affiliation1Faculty of Environmenten

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record


University of Waterloo Library
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
519 888 4883

All items in UWSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved.

DSpace software

Service outages