Drone Use in Agriculture

By Patrick Spinosa

The use of technology in agriculture is becoming a more common method to efficiently keep ag operations running smoothly. The rise of agriculture technology can be seen in the increasing popularity of drone use on the farm. The advanced sensors and digital imaging capabilities of drones make them ideal for gathering information that could help improve crop yields and farm efficiency. Whether it’s checking a hay feeder in the pasture or mapping a crop to monitor nutrition and irrigation, drones are becoming the newest wave of ag technology.

Many farmers around the country have embraced this new wave of agritech, either by themselves or by hiring a company to do the work. The popularity of drones in agriculture has the potential to change how farmers and growers run their businesses worldwide. In fact, a recent Market Watch survey estimates the worldwide drone market in agriculture to be more than $30 billion.

When it comes to drone use in agriculture, there are certain federal laws that have to be followed that are enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration. For one, if your drone weighs more than 55 pounds, it must be registered  through the FAA. Other FAA limitations include:

  • Drones must always remain within the pilot’s visual line of sight.
  • Anti-collision lights are required for operation during the dawn and twilight hours.
  • Operators are prohibited from flying drones over anyone who is not participating directly in the flight.
  • No one can pilot more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
  • Operators must be at least 16 years old, acquire a remote pilot certification with a small unmanned aircraft system rating, or be supervised by someone with the certificate.

The use of drones and technology in agriculture is only growing. The diversity of drone applications in agriculture will continue to advance the industry and help ag operations around the world be more efficient. However, such technology does come with financial costs, and agricultural lending solutions—such as the 10-year line of credit— can help farmers and ranchers expand their operations with the help of technology.

This column is sponsored by AgAmerica Lending, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.

BIO: Patrick Spinosa, a Relationship Manager for AgAmerica Lending, grew up on a fifth-generation Florida citrus and cattle operation. He believes that experience and knowledge to be invaluable as he helps secure the financial future of our nation’s farmers and ranchers. For more information about Patrick and the AgAmerica team, call 844-238-5312 or visit AgAmerica.com.

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