Monday, July 13, 2015

Free eXtension Online Webinar Series Beginning July 15 to Focus on Drone Use in Agriculture

Contact: Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist
Headquartered in Webster County
Tel: (417) 859-2044

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An eXtension webinar series that begins at 2 p.m. CST, July 15 will provide an overview of unmanned aerial systems in agriculture, along with a preview of future directions and information on how to get involved with this area of opportunity in agriculture.

The UAS webinar may be viewed at

The series is being presented by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Agriculture Learning Network for, which is an Internet-based collaborative environment where Land Grant University content providers exchange objective, research-based knowledge to solve real challenges in real time.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which some people refer to as drones, may save farmers time and money with bird’s-eye views of farmland, said Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Webster County.

“The uses are as varied as Missouri farmland. Entomologists may find the devices helpful for scouting of pests. UAVs can collect information on plants that have grown to heights that make it difficult to walk through rows,” said Schultheis. “Farmers could even use the unmanned devices to document conditions when applying for government programs like crop insurance.

A 2013 report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts the UAS global market to reach $140 billion over the next decade. The report also said that agriculture would make up 80 percent of the potential commercial market for the devices.

The webinars will introduce the world of unmanned aircraft systems and their potential uses, along with how to use the devices and any legal issues that could apply. As seen in other fields, the sky is the limit for UAS use in agriculture.

While the webinar series will be targeted to extension agents taking the information to the fields, Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor of geospatial technology at Purdue University, said the webinar series also targets the farmer and those wanting to learn more about the technology.

“It is not restricted to extension agents alone,” said Saraswat. “It will target farmers who are technology savvy. Our target is also youth. We would like to engage 4H youth and any other youth groups who would like to learn about this technology.”

The webinar series begins with an overview and intro to UAS on July 15 at 2 p.m. CST. The remaining installments will be released on a near monthly basis over the next year.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems webinars, offered at no charge to the viewer, can be found at
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