NEWS: How Many Farmers Are Really Using Drones – And Who’s Flying?

When you want to know what’s really happening on America’s farms, the Farm Journal is the place to go.  The Farm Journal Pulse polls farmers and ranchers via text twice a month with simple questions.  The anonymous answers provide illuminating insights on topics from politics to pesticides in American agriculture.The latest Farm Journal Pulse question was “Will You Use a Drone on Your Operation This Year?”  A third of the respondents said yes.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways of the poll:

  • Most farmers are operating their own drones
  • The trend is going in the right direction – 31% said they are not using drones now, but will consider for next year;
  • There is still some work to do for the drone industry:  37% say that they are not using drones and have no plans to do so.

Of the farmers who said that they do use drones, about 63% said they will operate the drone themselves.  The remaining said that they will hire a 3rd party professional operator.

The trend is good news for the drone industry.  Agriculture is one of the top vertical markets for drones, with a strong ROI and a broad range of available tools.  The drone industry claims a “triple bottom line” for agriculture.  Drones provide an inexpensive method of getting data; and the data can easily be used to both cut expenses and increase yields.  Drone projects scale across many different sizes and types of operations.  Consequently, agriculture has been one of the fastest growing sectors for commercial drones.

The 37 percent of respondents who are not using drones – and don’t plan to – indicate that the industry is still in its infancy.  As drone use becomes more widespread, and the drones and data platforms easier  to use and more familiar, those numbers could change rapidly.

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