Producers in industrialized countries have been inundated by ideas and information about precision agriculture (PA) and how new site-specific management (SSM) technologies will revolutionize their farm operations. Conjuring up 'Star Wars' imagery, farmers and their computerized machinery communicate with satellites while speeding up and down the information highway. The farm press has hailed the advent of these technologies as a win-win situation, with higher farm profits and improved environmental quality. Certainly the potential is there for greater economic returns and better environmental stewardship. But what exactly is precision agriculture, who is applying it, and where? Is the technology only relevant for developed countries and are there implications for markets? What is the likelihood that environmental benefits will be realized? This paper addresses these questions by drawing on literature, data and expert opinion.