The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is asking the government to give flight to some unmanned aerial vehicles. The group submitted comments to both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration about proposed rules regarding the commercial usage and privacy best practices of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
In the letter to DOT, NCGA notes that unmanned aerial systems have widespread potential applications for farmers, and will ultimately reduce costs, improve efficiency, and make farming operations more sustainable. For example, when scouting fields, an unmanned aerial system could provide real-time snapshots, taken from better vantage points that allow farmers to better spot and treat irregularities – all at a fraction of the cost and time it would take to do so on foot.
The letter also notes that UAS technology would “increase chances of early detection of irregularities, [and] farmers are able to treat specific areas of fields rather than mass application of inputs. This has many benefits, for both farmers and consumers: significantly lower operating costs; fewer inputs, such as pesticides and fertilizer; higher yields; and a reduced environmental impact.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to issue a final rule regarding UAS later this year.