Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences (MS)

Degree Level



Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences


Aurelie M. Poncet

Committee Member

Drescher, Gerson L.

Second Committee Member

Johnson, Donald M.

Third Committee Member

Eksioglu, Sandra D.

Fourth Committee Member

Purcell, Larry C.


Crop Management, Adoption, Site-Specific, Soil Sampling, Strategic Plan, Survey, Technological Development


Optimum crop production is needed to meet the growing population's food, water, fiber, and energy needs. However, agricultural productivity is hampered by many destabilizing factors such as pest management challenges, declining water quantity, and climate change which threaten long-term food security. Maximizing productivity will require optimizing resources through Precision Agriculture (PA) by supplying inputs based on crop needs. Precision Agriculture offers tools that can be used to optimize crop management practices globally. However, stakeholders’ perceptions and the lack of data-driven site-specific recommendations limit stakeholders’ ability to fully harness the potential benefits of PA. Identification of stakeholder needs and approaches to PA adoption practices will provide an understanding of existing bottlenecks and inform research and extension efforts that are directed at addressing stakeholders’ challenges in PA adoption and use. The goal of this research was to identify stakeholders’ perceptions of PA and farmers’ approaches to soil nutrient management in Arkansas. Two surveys - one to address each objective - were created in Qualtrics XM®. Data were collected between August 2022 and September 2023. Data were cleaned, anonymized, and analyzed using a chi-square test of homogeneity and hierarchical clustering. Stakeholders held varied but positive views about PA with much attention directed to operational planning. Stakeholders underscored the importance of core competencies such as computer skills, equipment calibration, and expertise in technology in the successful implementation of PA but, acknowledged experiencing difficulties applying these skills to their profession. In terms of soil sampling labor, row-crop and rice farmers relied heavily on their crop consultants while forage and specialty crop farmers relied more on themselves and their families. A variety of soil sampling strategies including whole-field composite, area composite, grid sampling, and zone sampling were widely adopted among row-crop and rice farmers, as well as mixed-crop farmers, forage farmers, and specialty crop farmers. Specialty crop growers did not use grid and zone sampling as much as the other operations because of the smaller farm and field sizes. Row crop and rice farmers adopted multiple grid sampling resolutions, but most adopted 1 sample ha-1 or 2.5 or more samples ha-1 sampling resolutions. Grid sampling adopters prioritized budget limitations, yield history, and irrigation strategy as the most important criteria for grid sampling adoption. The diversity in management practices used in Arkansas makes it difficult to characterize site-specific effects and develop relevant data-driven recommendations for all operations. This research provides baseline information on how research can be aligned with stakeholders’ needs for improved PA adoption in Arkansas.