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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398812

Research Project: The USDA ARS Climate Hubs – Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability by Impactful Development and Communication of Climate Smart Agricultural Research and Practices – Las Cruces, NM

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Design thinking for responsible Agriculture 4.0 innovations in rangelands

item Spiegal, Sheri

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2023
Publication Date: 9/13/2023
Citation: Hurst, Z.M., Spiegal, S.A. 2023. Design thinking for responsible Agriculture 4.0 innovations in rangelands. Rangelands. 45(4):68-78.

Interpretive Summary: Within agriculture there is a widespread shift that is taking place that is known as Agriculture 4.0. Agriculture 4.0 is fundamentally different than other forms of agriculture and involves the integration of sensors, automation, and artificial intelligence. In rangelands such an approach is often referred to as Precision Livestock Farming. Precision Livestock Farming has not been as widely adopted in ranching than in other systems such as dairies. Given this relatively early stage in the development and adoption of these applications in rangelands, we provide a brief introduction to Agriculture 4.0 and the developing field of precision livestock farming. We then outline an approach that can help to reduce the potential adverse impacts of such technologies by integrating Design Thinking with the Responsible Innovation Framework. Specifically, we integrate the Responsible Innovation Framework’s dimensions of (anticipation, inclusion, reflexivity, responsiveness, equity) within Design Thinking’s six step process (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, assess) to help provide insights that can help guide the development of precision livestock farming technologies. We used this integrated framework to explore how social science can be integrated into this area of research and development. We then present a case study on the Jornada Experimental Range and their translational approach to science to provide an example of a PLF design process and highlight what others may learn from those experiences. Although the PLF design process at the Jornada included elements of the Responsible Innovation Framework, it was not until the move towards translational science that the dimensions became more fully realized. Accordingly, we suggest that other PLF design process consider forming interdisciplinary teams that also include stakeholders. Ultimately, such approaches may help PLF realize its potential for sustainability of rangelands.

Technical Abstract: On the Ground • Agriculture is undergoing a rapid shift with the integration of digital technologies, resulting in a new form of production, “Agriculture 4.0” integrates not only sensors and robotics, but also the internet of things, cloud computing, data analytics, and decision support systems. • The use of digital technologies for production of grazing land is generally referred to as Precision Livestock Farming (PLF). • We provide a review and synthesis of design processes, with a focus on the human-centered design process and the Responsible Innovation Framework—to provide insights to guide research and development of PLF technologies in rangelands. • We describe the six stages of a “Design Thinking” process (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and assess) and highlight the dimensions of the Responsible Innovation Framework (anticipation, inclusion, reflexivity, responsiveness, and equity) that are important at each step of the process. • We present a case study of the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project and their translational approach to science to provide an example of a PLF design process and highlight what others may learn from those experiences.