‘Smart farming’ in Ireland: A risk perception study with key governance actors
Responsible research and innovation
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CitationRegan, Á. ‘Smart farming’ in Ireland: A risk perception study with key governance actors. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 2019, 90-91, 100292. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.njas.2019.02.003
AbstractAs research and innovation around Smart Farming further advances, there is a need to consider the impact of these technologies including the socio-economic, behavioural and cultural issues that may arise from their adoption. The current study explores the perceived risks and benefits arising from the development of Smart Farming in Ireland and in particular focuses on the different interpretations ascribed to risk issues by different actors. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 21 actors who through their professional positions have some level of responsibility for the growth of Smart Farming in Ireland. Although the participants in the current study were largely in agreement about the benefits presented by Smart Farming for Irish agriculture and society, they held different interpretations and opinions when discussing identified risks. The main concerns related to consumer rejection of technologies, inequitable distribution of risks and benefits within the farming community, adverse socio-economic impacts of increased farmer-technology interactions, and ethical threats presented by the collection and sharing of farmers’ data. The current study reinforces how ambiguity can surround the discussion of risks as individuals form perceptions based on divergent value judgements. The findings reinforce the call for discourse-based management of risks and the embedding of frameworks such as Responsible Research and Innovation within Smart Farming.
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