Global drivers

  • James E. Addicott


To take into consideration some of the macro-scale pressures advancing the global economy of precision farming, this chapter begins by analysing some of the discourses and ideologies of global organisations, such as the United Nations or transnational agribusiness, and how these advance precision farming systems. It identifies four drivers that experts claim are pushing forward the innovation revolution, these include: population pressures, climate change, biodiversity loss and technological revolution. These are critically assessed in terms of material and ideological challenges. The chapter draws the conclusion that global appeals to feed the world or save the planet are too broad and ideologically unrealistic, therefore, more grounded empirical research is needed to discover why local farmers were investing and assess any impacts and outcomes of adoption.


  1. AGCO. (2015). FUSE: AGCO Connecting Your Farm: Precision Technologies and Services for a Complete Solution (Corporation A, Ed.).
  2. AgWeb. (2016). Agricultural Technology Investment Rises to Record $25 Billion. Available at
  3. Asafu-Adjaye, J., Blomqvist, L., Brand, S., et al. (2015). An Ecomodernist Manifesto.
  4. Balmford, A., Green, R., & Phalan, B. (2012). What Conservationists Need to Know About Farming. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279, 2714–2724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banks, G. D. (2016). Clinton Misses Point of Trump’s Tweet on China’s Climate “Hoax”. Available at
  6. Bateman, T. (2017). Robot Tractors ‘Could Help Solve Post-Brexit Farm Worker Shortage’. Available at
  7. Castells, M. (1996). The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture (Vol. 1). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, A. C. (1945, October). Extra-Terrestrial Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-Wide Radio Coverage? Wireless World, pp. 305–308.Google Scholar
  9. CNH Industrial. (2016). The CNH Industrial Autonomous Tractor Concept (Full Version). Available at
  10. CPRE. (2010). England’s Hedgerows: Don’t Cut Them Out! London, UK: CPRE.Google Scholar
  11. Deere & Co. (2014). John Deere FarmSight: Simply, Profit from Insight. In J. Deere (Ed.). USA.Google Scholar
  12. Defra. (2013). An Assessment of Key Evidence About Neonicotinoids and Bees. London, UK: Defra.Google Scholar
  13. Defra. (2015a). Farming Statistics: Final Crop Areas, Yields, Livestock Populations and Agricultural Workforce at June 2015—United Kingdom. National Statistics. London, UK: UK Gov.Google Scholar
  14. Defra. (2015b). Food Statistics Pocketbook 2015: In Year Update. National Statistics.
  15. Defra. (2015c). UK Biodiversity Indicators 2015. Measuring Progress Towards Halting Biodiversity Loss.
  16. Defra. (2016). Agricultural Statistics and Climate Change. London, UK: Defra.Google Scholar
  17. Delingpole, J. (2009). Climategate: The Final Nail in the Coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’? James Delingpole; Journalist, Author and Broadcaster.
  18. Dickens, P. (1996). Reconstructing Nature. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Dickens, P. (2004). Society & Nature. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Dickens, P., & Ormrod, J. S. (2007). Cosmic Society. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Dikötter, F. (2011). Mao’s Great Famine. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  22. Divine, R. A. (1993). The Sputnik Challange. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Easton M. (2012). The Great Myth of Urban Britain. Available at
  24. Ehrlich, P. R., & Ehrlich, A. H. (1970). Population, Resources, Environment: Issues in Human Ecology. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  25. Enzensberger, H. M. (1996). A Critique of Political Ecology. In T. Benton (Ed.), The Greening of Marxism. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  26. European Commission. (2016). Review of Greening After One Year. Commission Staff Working Document. European Union.
  27. FAO. (2008). Current World Fertilizer Trends and Outlook to 2011/12. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.Google Scholar
  28. FAO, IFAD and WFP. (2015). The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Meeting the 2015 International Hunger Targets: Taking Stock of Uneven Progress. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  29. Foster, J. B., Clark, B., & York, R. (2010). The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War or the Earth. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  30. Gates, B. (2013). Bill Gates: Here’s My Plan to Improve Our World—And How You Can Help.Google Scholar
  31. Giddens, A. (1990). The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Giddens, A. (1994). Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  33. Giddens, A. (2011). The Politics of Climate Change (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  34. Giedion, S. (2013 [1948]). Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History. London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  35. GoGeomatics Newsmakers. (2016). Earth Observation Represents a $43 Billion Opportunity Over Next 10 Years. Available at
  36. Harrabin, R. (2016). Farm Subsidies: Payment to Billionaire Prince Sparks Anger. Available at
  37. HM Government. (2013). A UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies. Industrial Strategy: Government and Industry in Partnership. London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.Google Scholar
  38. Institution of Mechanical Engineers. (2013). Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not. Improving the World Through Engineering. London.
  39. IPCC. (2007). Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (p. 104). In Core Writing Team, R. K. Pachauri & A. Reisinger (Eds.). Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC.Google Scholar
  40. Knight, J. A. (2006). Supersizing Farms: The McDonaldization of Agriculture. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), McDonaldization: The Reader (Second Edition). Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  41. Leblond, N., & Trottier, J. (2016). Performing an Invisibility Spell: Global Models, Food Regimes and Smallholders. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture & Food, 23, 21–40.Google Scholar
  42. Lowenberg-DeBoer, J. (2015). The Precision Agriculture Revolution: Making the Modern Farmer. Available at
  43. Luck, J. D., Stombaugh, T. S., & Shearer, S. A. (2010). Basics of Automatic Section Control for Agricultural Sprayers. Transactions of the ASABE, 53, 685–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Malthus, T. (1993 [1798]). An Essay on the Principle of Population. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Mann, M. (2013). Global Crisis: Climate Change. In The Sources of Social Power, Vol. 4: Globalizations, 1945–2011. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. McKelvey, V. E. (1976). ERTS-1 A New Window in Our Planet. In S. Richard, J. Williams, D. William, et al. (Eds.), Geological Survey Professional Paper 929. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  47. Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., et al. (1972). The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. London: Earth Island.Google Scholar
  48. Mol, A. P. J. (2003). Globalization and Environmental Reform: The Ecological Modernization of the Global Economy. London: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  49. Mol, A. P. J. (2008). Environmental Reform in the Information Age: The Contours of Informational Governance. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Murphy, R. (1994). Rationality & Nature: A Sociological Inquiry into a Changing Relationship. Oxford: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  51. n/a. (2014). Complex Canopies. In British Farmers and Growers (June ed., pp. 56–57). London, UK: National Farmers Union.Google Scholar
  52. NFU. (2016). Our Response to the State of Nature Report. Available at
  53. OECD. (2014). Labour Force Statistics: Employment by Activities and Status. In OECD (Ed.), Employment and Labour Market Statistics (Database).
  54. Paterson, O. (2014, July 20). I’m Proud of Standing up to the Green Lobby. The Sunday Telegraph, London, p. 9.Google Scholar
  55. Pelton, J. N. (1998). The History of Satellite Communications. In J. M. Logsdon, R. D. Launius, D. H. Onkst, et al. (Eds.), Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program (Volume III: Using Space) (pp. 1–11). Available Online at NASA.
  56. Phalan, B., Onial, M., Balmford, A., et al. (2011). Reconciling Food Production and Biodiversity Conservation: Land Sharing and Land Sparing Compared. Science, 333, 1289–1291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rabbinge, R. (2007). Chairman’s Introduction. In Ciba Foundation Symposium 210—Precision Agriculture: Spatial and Temporal Variability of Environmental Quality (pp. 1–4). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  58. Rewilding Britain. (2016). About Us: We Want to Bring About the Mass Restoration of Ecosystems in Britain. Available at
  59. RSPB. (2013). State of Nature. Sandy, UK: RSPB.Google Scholar
  60. Spaargaren, G., Mol, A. P. J., & Buttel, F. H. (2000). Environment and Global Modernity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  61. Tobe, F. (2016). Views and Forecasts About Robotics for the Ag Industry. Available at
  62. United Nations. (2015a). Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Geneva: Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division.Google Scholar
  63. United Nations. (2015b). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision: Key Findings and Advance Tables. New York: Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Population Division.Google Scholar
  64. United Nations. (2016). The State of Food and Agriculture: Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.Google Scholar
  65. Williams, R. S. & Carter, W. D. (1976). ERTS-1 A New Window in Our Planet. In S. Richard, J. Williams, D. William, et al. (Eds.), Geological Survey Profesional Paper 929. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  66. Yaqoob, W. (2014). The Archimedean Point: Science and Technology in the Thought of Hannah Arendt, 1951–1963. Journal of European Studies, 44, 199–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Addicott
    • 1
  1. 1.BathUK

Personalised recommendations