CHESTERFIELD, MISSOURI, U.S. — The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Oct. 19 that recreational users of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, must register their systems with the federal government.

“As with any technology, unmanned aerial systems will make our farms safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” said Chip Bowling National Corn Growers Association president and farmer form Newburg, Maryland, U.S. “That’s good for farmers, good for consumers and good for the environment. We support reasonable rules and regulations to govern UAS technology. Most farmers who use a drone will do so over open cropland in rural areas, far away from airports or large population centers. We hope the Federal Aviation Administration will recognize the important commercial applications of UAS technology and create rules that will put the technology in farmers’ hands.”

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that agriculture will account for as much as 80% of all commercial UAS use. Applications of unmanned aerial systems include crop scouting; early detection of pest infestations and crop disease; more precise application of fertilizers and other crop inputs; and reducing the need for humans in potentially dangerous tasks.