Farmers may be exempt from some federal drone regulations

Jun 24, 2016

Waiver applications will need to be sent to the FAA

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Farmers may find themselves exempt from some of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) regulations when it comes to drone usage.

On June 21, the FAA released a list of rules for using drones including the aircraft’s weight being less than 55 lbs, a maximum groundspeed of 100 mph and a minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from a control station.

The FAA said that, in a few months, farmers can apply for exemption waivers if they can prove the drone will be used safely.


If a farmer receives an exemption, it could mean they'd be able to use a drone whenever they feel necessary.

“In agriculture, depending on the nature of the commodity, you could have a drone flying and also have workers in the field and there could be a situation where their entire farmland is not contiguous,” Kentucky Farm Bureau Spokesman Jeff Harper told WKMS, a public radio station from Murray State University.

Harper said a small number of farms have adopted drones, but predicts after technology prices drop and farmers have a deeper understanding of them, more will be used in the state.

He noted that after severe weather, tall corn can make it difficult to assess damage in the middle of the field, but drones allow farmers to have an aerial view.

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