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Abstract

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are expected to play an important role in the future of farming. Because UAVs can provide precise, real-time information on biotic and abiotic stressors in agricultural production while they can also carry out autonomous operations to counter them, they can enhance farm profitability while reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture. Yet little is known about the current adoption of UAVs in agriculture or about the profile of the adopters. In this study we report actual and expected adoption of UAVs for a rich cross section of crop farmers and examine the factors that shape such adoption. In our empirical analysis we describe the inherent farmer heterogeneity – as shaped by differential awareness of UAV applications, perceptions of technical complexities, expectations of economic and environmental benefits and various socioeconomic factors – and analyze which of all these factors shape individual farmer adoption of UAVs. We also estimate and describe a small number of farmer segments that might adequately describe general population tendencies in the adoption of UAVs.

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