Oklahoma Farmers Experiment With Aerial Drones

Sunday, December 1st 2013, 11:23 pm
By: Craig Day

It's a high-tech solution to a "down to earth" problem.

Some Oklahoma farmers are pushing past pick-ups and tractors to make room for aerial drones.

"Check their cattle, check their property, use these drone for precision agriculture and make sure we are arming the most efficient and effective way possible," Oklahoma Farm Bureau's John Collison Collison said.

Collison says the aerial drones could soon be common on our state's farms and ranches.

"The technology is pretty new to our members, but as we go and technology gets stronger, I see a huge market for it in the future," Collison said.

The Federal Aviation Administration says farmers can use unmanned aircraft, as long as they keep it over their own property and follow the same guidelines model aircraft hobbyists use.

That means flying no more than 400 feet off the ground or within 3 miles of an airport without notifying air traffic control.

The head of Oklahoma's Unmanned Aircraft Council says it's hard for farmers to resist a sophisticated new tool to help them monitor crops and cattle.

"I like to say the genie is out of the bottle," Toney Stricklin said. "This technology will continue to grow in public safety and agriculture."