The rise of digital farming

  • What values drive the revolution in digital farming?
  • What are the opportunities and risks digital farming and big data offer for (new) forms of interaction between farmers, universities and corporations?

Technological developments have recently enabled a shift towards ‘digital farming’. Examples include GPS-steered combines, milk robots, drones making field scans as well as the use of big data in agriculture.

The Rise of Digital Farming critically investigates this potential ‘agricultural revolution’ from a social science perspective. It examines the role of social interaction (e.g. between farmers, universities and corporations) and societal values.

Qualitative research is conducted in Australia and the EU (with the Netherlands as a major hub) where digital farming is already actively developed.

Why is this research relevant?

According to its supporters, digital farming can offer a solution to the challenge of feeding a growing global population in the face of climate change, decreasing farmland and fossil-fuel resources and mounting agricultural pollution.

However, key obstacles to the further development and use of digital farming are not technical issues, but rather social issues related to for example trust and cooperation. The social science perspective is thus both timely and relevant.


For this project, funded by the Toyota Foundation, Dr Oane Visser (Associate Professor in Rural Development Studies at the International Insitute of Social Studies) collaborates with Dr Sarah Sippel (University of Leipzig).


For more information about the project, please contact either Dr Oane Visser or Dr Sarah Sippel.

“Agricultural technology offers enormous opportunities for sustainability and feeding the world. But it also comes with risks”


What kind of impact will new digital technologies in agriculture have on our food supply in the future? Associate Professor Oane Visser (ISS) is carrying out research to answer these questions.