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House appropriations bill about drones passes

Bill was unanimously passed

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

The world of farming and agriculture is no stranger to technology as seen by the screens, monitors and other tools used to ensure the farm and machinery operate as smoothly as possible.

There is one type of technology that’s slowly making its mark on the agricultural community – unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones.

Drone

During a debate on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development Appropriations Act, the House of Representatives unanimously passed an amendment put forward by Republican Dan Newhouse.

The amendment requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to consider agricultural applications of small drones when developing and implementing new regulations for the vehicles.

“The U.S. should not fall behind other nations that are currently developing safe testing and commercial use of UAV technology,” said Rep. Newhouse. “UAV technology has the potential to be used to survey crop land, determine property lines, or eventually to help plan for planting, spraying, watering, or harvesting of crops. The rulemaking process for UAVs must include thorough consideration of new agricultural uses as these technologies develop while also addressing important safety and privacy concerns.”

Early in May, the FAA approved Yamaha’s RMAX drone to spray crops in the United States.

The 207-pound drone is able to spray fertilizers and pesticides across large patches of land. The rules imposed by the FAA require the drone to fly no higher than 400 feet above the ground, no faster than 45 MPH, and the pilot and another observer remain in a direct line of sight while it’s in the air.

Tell us your thoughts on drone usage in agriculture. Do you currently use one? Would you consider doing so?

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