Agriculture should be one of the largest industries to benefit from the new drone rules issued last week from the Federal Aviation Administration. The American Farm Bureau says it will continue working with the FAA to tweak certain restrictions in the rules.
The Farm Bureau suggested several changes to FAA rules, including not requiring drones be operated in the user’s line of sight or not operated directly over people, but those suggestions weren’t adopted. Politico says the obvious challenges farmers have a lot of lands to cover and some of it isn’t contiguous.
The group’s Director of Congressional Relations, R.J. Karney, gave the FAA credit for building in flexibility by allowing waivers to those restrictions. He hopes this will help build a case for more fine-tuning of the rules to help the technology take off for farmers and ranchers. Agriculture could make up almost 80 percent of expected commercial drone use. Drones could map terrain or monitor fields for pest and disease pressure, just to name a few of the expected uses.