The agriculture industry has been hungry for an FAA ruling on the legality of commercial drone use. According to the FAA, that “famine” may draw to a close as early as next year.
“The rule will be in place within the year, hopefully before June 17, 2016,” FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker told the House Oversight Committee.
In the meantime, plenty of farmers are flying drones in their operations. And although no farmer has been penalized for such usage, that remains a slight risk, according to Wes Flippo with Buy The Best Drone, an advocacy/education group.
"Unless you've specifically requested an exemption from the FAA and they have approved your exemption, stay clear of commercial use,” he says.
On the flip side, the FAA is allowing more exemptions than ever, he adds.
“A Parrot company, senseFly, has been exempted for agricultural projects recently,” he says. “Coming with this exemption is a streamlined process for anyone wanting to use an eBee, a senseFly product used for mapping and precision agriculture projects. Once the FAA has approved it once, the process rapidly quickens to be granted exemption.”
Buy the Best Drone provides an extensive guide to drone rules and FAA regulations at http://bit.ly/1e89Dru.
On June 30, ag law experts with The Ohio State University and the National Ag Law Center are hosting an hour-long webinar, “Small Unmanned Aerial Systems in Agriculture: Preparing for the Legal Issues” to explore the current legal intricacies of this technology.
Attendees will learn more about current rules and regulation, the FAA proposal for federal regulations for small commercial drones, and current and proposed state laws across the country that address items such as privacy, nuisance and trespass. Sign up at nationalaglawcenter.org/consortium/uavwebinar.
For all of Farm Journal Media’s industry-leading coverage about drones, visit www.FarmWithDrones.com.