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Table 1 
The Emerging Debate over Precision Technologies for Agriculture
Aspect of the DebateProponentsCritics
Environmental impact Optimism about benefits:
  • • 

    “Climate smart” (e.g., facilitates no-till agriculture)

  • • 

    Reduces agrochemical use

  • • 

    Improves resource efficiency and farmer profitability

 
Skepticism and a focus on costs:
  • • 

    Reinforces energy use of the industrial agricultural system (e.g., machinery)

  • • 

    Perpetuates agrochemical use

  • • 

    Threatens biodiversity

 
Corporate involvement Large corporations necessary to drive innovation for improved sustainability Corporate concentration and control shapes technology in ways that undermine sustainability 
Agricultural system Embedded in and extension of the industrial agricultural system Advocates transformation to new system based on agroecology 
Aspect of the DebateProponentsCritics
Environmental impact Optimism about benefits:
  • • 

    “Climate smart” (e.g., facilitates no-till agriculture)

  • • 

    Reduces agrochemical use

  • • 

    Improves resource efficiency and farmer profitability

 
Skepticism and a focus on costs:
  • • 

    Reinforces energy use of the industrial agricultural system (e.g., machinery)

  • • 

    Perpetuates agrochemical use

  • • 

    Threatens biodiversity

 
Corporate involvement Large corporations necessary to drive innovation for improved sustainability Corporate concentration and control shapes technology in ways that undermine sustainability 
Agricultural system Embedded in and extension of the industrial agricultural system Advocates transformation to new system based on agroecology 
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