State ag leaders endorse development of drone technology
WASHINGTON, DC – The leading state agriculture officials from across the nation have unanimously called for continued development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology for use in agricultural production.
“This technology is part of the future of agriculture and will enhance our food safety, as well as our national and global food supply,” said members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) meeting in Washington. “While UAS technology is a valuable tool in agriculture, the use of UAS technology must recognize and respect the privacy of agriculture producers and American citizens.”
Prepared and submitted by North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, the policy statement says “adoption of UAS technology will allow farmers to monitor their acreage, mitigate crop stressors and manage crop progress.”
“Imaging from drones will allow farmers to combine their crop data with advanced crop mapping,” Goehring said. “Monitoring fertilizer and pesticide application will pinpoint the most advantageous times for application while helping prevent runoff and drift.”
Goehring said the new technology promises to help producers be good stewards of the land by minimizing inputs and maximizing production.
“This technology is advancing on technical, scientific, governmental and educational levels, yet many people are understandably wary of it,” Goehring said. “UAS technology needs to be addressed by the agriculture community in order to effectively manage and utilize its integration into the industry. NASDA supports a science-based and calculated approach to this technology.”
A March 2013 study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found that 90 percent of drone uses will be for agricultural purposes.
NASDA represents the commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture of the 50 states and four U.S. territories.