Ag retailer Peter Schott of Kulm, N.D., is excited about his new hire. He says it's dependable, useful, able to provide a new perspective, and fun to be around. There's just one catch – it doesn't draw a paycheck every month.
"In case you're wondering, I'm not talking about a new employee. I am referring to a UAS system that we purchased for use on the farm," he says.
Though it may require an upfront investment, Unmanned Aerial Systems are gaining traction on the farm.
What is the difference between Unmanned Aerial Systems and a drone? Quite frankly, nothing. But use of the word "drone" seems to have a negative impact, and those on the cutting edge of using this technology in the world of agriculture prefer to use the term UAS.
Currently one of the best sources for information on UAS is Chad Colby, Bloomington, Ill.
"One of the major reasons I have become outspoken about UAS is because of the lack of knowledge about this topic," Colby says, noting that some folks are confused about the current Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
"It's very important if you are considering this application on your farm is to understand the rules. The facts are this simple: If an individual or company flies any unmanned aircraft for commercial use, it's against the law. Period."
However, he says, "You can use an unmanned aircraft for non-commercial or private use, provided you operate it correctly as a hobby aircraft."
The possibilities for use of UAS on a farm is still 'up in the air'. Right now experts and farmers are in the learning stages of this technology and what advantages it will hold for agriculture.
Those who have taken classes and purchased their own UAS are excited about the advantages that they will gain on their farm from this different perspective.