The increasing use of drones in agriculture

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:26 AM CST
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(25 News Now) - Drones are playing a role in agriculture. Let’s hear from Garrett Thalgott from the Illinois Farm Bureau on the future of drones in farming.

So I started here at the farm bureau in 2015 and at that time the initial set of drone rules were coming online and I think people in agriculture were realizing that drones could actually be a very useful tool. They seemed like toys originally but people quickly realized that with advances in technology they could fly longer, faster, larger, and heavier and there could actually really be some potential for their use in agriculture.

I was sort of you know as the new guy was sort of assigned to sort of keep track of some of these rules and regulations as they were sort of -- rolling out -- from the FAA and from other regulatory agencies. These could actually really be important tools and that they can oftentimes do jobs either maybe more economically or maybe better than you know other sorts of like traditional application methods.

I was with a farmer in northern Illinois and we were driving around some of his fields and talking about some of the use of his cover crops and he mentioned that in the future he was going to try to have drones apply the cover crop seed. I asked why and he felt that his idea was that drones were going to be able to do a better job of getting the seeds where they needed to be and I just thought that was very interesting that we are now seeing that drones are again getting into in an area that was traditionally dominated by other forms of application methods and farmers are starting to experiment and say you know what maybe they work better maybe they work worse but let’s just sort of see and try and see how it works.

Drone technology -- and other technologies too -- are going to be enhancing, they’re going to continue to develop a lot, we’ll have to see where they go -- it’ll be fascinating to see what happens with them in the future.

With technology normally becomes you know better it becomes less expensive it becomes more available to people. Now as that happens I think that it’s really important for farmers to make sure that if they want to try to experiment with some of these things that they need to understand sort of what the regulatory regime is around them and so I just think it’s really important for farmers to if they’re serious about it to look closely at what the FAA it is going to require -- and so what I can to make that decision - I do this myself or do I partner with an entity, a CO-OP or something like that that’s already got all the licenses now and then I don’t have to worry about it.