Thousands of farmers and ranchers have gathered in Orlando this week for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show. A highlight for attendees was a session where they learned about the advantages and practical considerations of using unmanned aerial vehicles during a workshop presented by the UnmannedFarmer Robert Blair, a fourth-generation farmer and vice president of agriculture for Measure Drone as a Service.
Farmers have long been adapting to new technology noted Blair, whose farm has seen five generations of the technology evolution since his family began farming in Idaho in 1903. Blair started using drones on his family farm in 2006.
“We need precision ag technology to increase profitability and reduce environmental impact,” Blair said. “UAVs give proactive data throughout the season. You can see what is happening and make adjustments on the spot.”
Thanks to the data drones provide, farmers can make up significant gaps in yields.
“But it’s not all about yields,” Blair added. “It’s about farming better, making better decisions.” Farmers can use drones to be more precise with water, fertilizer and pesticides, using less to grow more and protecting important resources.
Agriculture has yet to see the full potential of what drones can do to make farming more efficient, and it’s important for farmers to not only adopt new technologies but to engage with lawmakers on the way regulations impact their ability to use these tools on their farms.