Big data in agriculture: A challenge for the future

Keith H. Coble, Ashok K. Mishra, Shannon Ferrell, Terry Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


This article examines the challenge and opportunities of Big Data, and concludes that these technologies will lead to relevant analysis at every stage of the agricultural value chain. Big Data is defined by several characteristics beyond size, particularly, the volume, velocity, variety, and veracity of the data. We discuss a set of analytical techniques that are increasingly relevant to our profession as one addresses these issues. Ultimately, we resolve that agricultural and applied economists are uniquely positioned to contribute to the research and outreach agenda on Big Data. We believe there are relevant policy, farm management, supply chain, consumer demand, and sustainability issues where our profession can make major contributions. The authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewers and editor Craig Gundersen for helpful comments. Support was provided by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Special Research Initiative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Analytical methods
  • Big data
  • Precision agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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