Drones Could Benefit Farmers

In the wake of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s 13 hour filibuster over the Obama administration’s use of unmanned drones, the technological breakthrough has become a major partisan flashpoint. Despite their controversial military application, however, drones could have major benefits for American farmers.
Part of the problem, supporters of the vehicles say, is that drones have become linked to controversial military policy. The Obama administration has become a major supporter of using unmanned drones as a military tool, claiming the power to even use these weapons against American citizens overseas who have been deemed a threat.
This label needs to change in order for drones to be accepted for widespread agricultural use, says Rory Paul, the Iowa CEO of Volt Aerial Robotics. “When we hear ‘drone,’ the popular media has us seeing military predator systems with Tomahawk missiles slung underneath. What we’re talking about are farming implements that fly, that are doing work on your farm. I believe they have huge potential to benefit American agriculture.”
Aerial vehicles could be used to map farmland, monitor crop stress, supervise planting, protect high value crops, and direct the application of pesticides. With the FAA setting a 2015 date for the creation of a plan allowing for civilian drone use, many farmers see a major opportunity within the next few years.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer