Biggest U.S. Market for Drones May Be…Farmers

Thursday, February 07, 2013
CropCam (photo: Utah State University)

Drones may soon become part of the American heartland, if promoters of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are correct about the technology’s application to farming.


Much of the public debate about drones and their future use in the United States has focused on law enforcement and fighting crimes.


But Chris Mailey, a vice president with the drone promotion organization known as AUVSI, told Wired: “Agriculture is gonna be the big market” for UAVs. The group sees farmers utilizing drones for crop dusting and scanning soil patterns.


“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,” Mailey added. “Spraying, watering—there’s a whole market for precision agriculture, and when you put that cost-benefit together, farmers will buy [drones].”


Companies are ready to meet this new demand if it develops. CropCam manufactures lightweight GPS-driven gliders (for $7,000) for farmers to obtain aerial views of crop fields. Others say drones could help farmers identify crop diseases and locate lost livestock.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Drone Boosters Say Farmers, Not Cops, Are the Biggest U.S. Robot Market (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)

Flying Drones Watch Over Farmers' Fields (by Johann Tasker, Farmers Weekly)

OSU Sees Farming Uses for Drones (by Andrew McGinn, Dayton Daily News)

Homeland Security Quietly Runs “Loan-a-Drone” Program for Local Law Enforcement (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Here’s Who’s Buying Drones: Are Local Cops Watching You from the Sky? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Drones are a Growth Industry (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Marcus UAV 9 years ago
Yes, we just released a uav with a highly advanced multispectral camera for this purpose specifically. We are the first in the industry doing this.

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