Nebraska Extension Launches New Drones in Ag Conference on Aug. 3
Drone pilots and businesses utilizing drones across Nebraska will converge on Aug. 3, 2023 for the inaugural Drones in Ag Conference, sponsored by Nebraska Agricultural Technology Association (NeATA) and organized by Nebraska Extension. The conference is a one-day event held at UNL’s Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Education Center (ENREEC) located near Mead, Nebraska.
“NeATA is thrilled to announce its hosting of the Drones in Ag Conference, which aims to unite all stakeholders and foster a collaborative learning environment in the rapidly evolving field of utilizing drones in agriculture,” said Ryan Meister, NeATA member and vice president of digital transformation at Frontier Cooperative in David City, Nebraska.
This conference serves as a platform to exchange knowledge and experiences among participants, given the growing nature of this industry. The widespread adoption of drones in agriculture offers significant prospects for enhancing resource management and operational efficiency in farming practices.
The conference will begin with a keynote address delivered by Mike O’Shea, program manager of the UAS Integration Office for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He will discuss how the FAA is working to streamline the process of using drones in the national airspace and providing resources that participants can use.
“The FAA is striving to make entering and operating in the UAS space easier, and we are very interested in addressing the needs of farmers,” O’Shea said, adding that his goal is to build communication avenues for conference participants to the FAA. “We want to be an easily accessible resource.”
Three practical informational sessions with panel discussions from 10 drone practitioners will be presented throughout the day to allow participants opportunities to have their questions answered by experts in the field. These sessions will include information on how to fly drones legally in the national airspace, including requirements to fly sprayer drones, practical uses of drones in agriculture, and tips and tricks to successfully use drones in a business.
“What is unique about our event is we are bringing together speakers that represent Nebraska businesses that use drones in their daily work,” according to Dr. Dirk Charlson, associate extension educator for digital agriculture at UNL, who has been using drones for aerial crop scouting in his own ag consulting business for the past seven years. “Additionally, we want participants to leave the conference with information that can be applied immediately to their own drone activities.”
The conference starts at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3 at ENREEC, located at 1071 Co. Rd. G, Ithaca, NE 68033. Lunch will be provided and sessions will wrap up at 2:30 p.m., followed by drone demonstrations.
Certified Crop Advisor credits for attending the conference are pending.
NeATA is a non-profit organization that provides a professional network for producers, businesses and educators to share agricultural research experiences and related knowledge. Registration to the conference includes free membership to NeATA.