Farming With Drones Actually Makes Perfect Sense

February 6, 2013 | Andy Cush

With Obama’s drone war in full swing and expanded to include the killing of Americans, the Department of Defense will continue to purchase new UAVs, but what will the U.S. do with it’s older models? The burgeoning drone industry will need to find some new buyers. The most obvious place they’ll look is with police departments–and indeed, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the NYPD is “looking into” the technology–but there’s also another, less nefarious place drones may turn up: the farm.

Big-time farmers already use small airplanes to feed their crops, and if they can get greater precision without need for a pilot’s license, why wouldn’t they turn to UAVs? “A manned crop sprayer is flying 10 feet above his crops — how accurate is it? Any crop you spray that isn’t on your farm you have to pay for, and a remote-controlled ‘copter can be very precise,” said Chris Mailey, vice president of a pro-drone organization called AUVSI. “Spraying, watering — there’s a whole market for precision agriculture, and when you put that cost-benefit together, farmers will buy [drones].”

(Photo: Charles McCain/Flickr)