Drones Will Boost Farming Economy

Drones are seen to be a big boost for the farming economy, and it is hoped the agricultural sector will soon be granted the FAA approval for the commercial usage of drones in the industry.

State economic developers say Georgia’s agricultural industry could be one of the areas with the most promising potential for the launch of a commercial drone usage, and they’re intent on showing farmers why. In the town of Moultrie nestled in a farm-rich region in the southern part of the state, local aerospace firms flew their drones over fields of cotton to show off the technology to farmers attending the Sunbelt Ag Expo earlier this month. Drones could offer farmers multi-spectral images of their crops to show which plants need more fertilizer, more water or more nitrogen — an advance in what’s known as “precision agriculture.” Read more:

Elsewhere in the country, farmers see the great potential drones can do to help them produce more food. That’s a problem for many in American agriculture who say the U.S. already is failing to keep up with other nations in drone use that could provide billions of dollars in economic growth. “We’re behind the eight ball when it comes to places like Japan and Australia, which have been using drones in agriculture since the 1980s,” said R.J. Karney, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau. “There’s an urgency to get the ball moving on this,” he said. Read more:

Not only will drone usage advance farming technology, but it will also create jobs.

A report released last year estimated the economic impact of drone-related activity in the state at $537 million over the next decade, including more than $5 million in new tax revenue and hundreds of jobs. “The immediate envisioned benefit for farming is for scouting,” Suzanne Weaver Smith, a University of Kentucky mechanical engineering professor, said Wednesday during a meeting of the General Assembly’s interim joint committee on agriculture. Read more here:

It is understood that the FAA is being cautious in granting approval for drone usage on a commercial scale due to concerns of privacy and safety, but being overly cautious can also be a risky business move.


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