Precision Agriculture

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 4–18 | Cite as

Public–private collaboration toward research, education and innovation opportunities in precision agriculture

  • M. A. YostEmail author
  • K. A. Sudduth
  • C. L. Walthall
  • N. R. Kitchen
Brief Communication


Regular assessment of precision agriculture (PA) knowledge gaps and opportunities, of PA’s relationship to decision and sustainable agriculture, and of the roles of various research and educational institutions helps advance the development, use and adoption of this science. It also helps to limit redundancy in a science that is rapidly evolving. Such assessments were conducted during a 2016 roundtable discussion by 32 public-sector and industry scientists, administrators and stakeholders predominately from the United States but also from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. This article synthesizes those discussions and presents perspectives on developing coordinated, useable decisions from PA to meet sustainable agriculture goals. It concludes with milestones needed to advance PA research and development. Results will guide both public and private researchers and other stakeholders seeking to develop PA to help meet national and global sustainability goals for agriculture. These efforts will also act as a catalyst for regular discussions on PA research, education and development opportunities and coordination between public and private institutions in international forums on PA. Expected impacts include global action to help bring PA techniques and technologies into the mainstream of farming systems and acceleration of the interaction of genetics, environment, management and socioeconomic [(G × E × M) S] approach to sustainably intensify agriculture.


Knowledge gaps Decision support systems Sustainability Milestones Vision Metrics 



Decision-support system


Electrical conductivity


Intellectual property


Precision agriculture


Plant available water capacity



The authors appreciate the USDA-ARS Office of International Research Programs and the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA) for hosting the roundtable, the contributions of all roundtable participants, and the helpful comments of Raj Khosla, founding president of ISPA, on an early version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply  2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Yost
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. A. Sudduth
    • 2
  • C. L. Walthall
    • 3
  • N. R. Kitchen
    • 2
  1. 1.Plants, Soils, and Climate DepartmentUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, 269 Agricultural Engineering Bldg.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research ServiceNatural Resources and Sustainable Agriculture SystemsBeltsvilleUSA

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