Farmers and ranchers are accepting and embracing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones. This news release from Farm Bureau says one of the group’s members, Jeff VanderWerff, went before a Senate subcommittee to explain drones’ value and how farmers and ranchers are leading the way in exploring commercial use for this technology.
America’s farmers and ranchers embrace technology that allows their farming businesses to be more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly. VanderWerff sees these benefits firsthand on his farm where he where uses precision technology. “I rely on data to produce the accurate information critical to my day-to-day business decisions. These decisions affect my yield, environmental impact and ultimately the economic viability of my farm,” he said.
According to VanderWerff, UAS would provide a valuable tool for farmers and ranchers to manage their fields and respond to threats quickly before they turn catastrophic. “Currently, I spend about 12 hours a week walking the nearly 3,000 acres of land we farm. This may be effective, but it is not efficient,” he said. UAS can also help farmers reduce their environmental impact. “With the imagery from unmanned aircraft, I can spot-treat sections of my fields as opposed to watering and spraying the entire field,” VanderWerff said.
VanderWerff did warn that farmers and ranchers need to be protective of the data gathered by any unmanned aircraft.