How a California farm could become a state farm
A California farm might soon be one of the first in the country to use drones for research, and it has the potential to have a ripple effect across the nation.
In the meantime, however, a group of California farmers are fighting to make sure that the drone experiment doesn’t take too much time away from their traditional methods of farming.
The agricultural advocacy group Farm Defenders is seeking $10 million to build a pilot farm in a remote part of Kern County, California, a region that is often overlooked by national farming leaders.
The farm is called Shady Brook Farm, and the farm’s founder, Kevin Walsh, says the drone could help with an agricultural experiment that is already underway in the state.
He hopes to build about 30-acre plots with a drone and a pilot who can harvest crops from the ground, collect water, monitor temperature, and water flow and release a fertilizer in the winter when it’s needed.
The drone can also be used for other types of agricultural work, like monitoring water flow, he said.
The drone would help the farmers avoid some of the challenges of the conventional farm, including a lot of time spent in the field and a high cost of doing business.
But for Walsh, who is also a professor at California State University, Los Angeles, it would also be a way to be a pioneer.
He’s not the first farmer to envision using drones for agriculture, said Dan Hennings, director of the Center for Agricultural Innovation at the University of California, Davis.
But he believes the technology has the capacity to revolutionize the agricultural industry, and he’s working on a book that will explain how.
For years, farmers have used drones to monitor and photograph crops, which have made it easier for them to know how to grow and how to market crops.
The drones also help farmers avoid costs like trucking and transportation costs.
Hennings said he expects to see the drone industry grow over the next decade.
He’s already heard from some farmers that they are considering flying their drones from California to Vermont, he added.
Henna said he wants to help farmers find out whether the technology is feasible.
The pilot farm could provide the first data to help them determine whether the drone technology is worth the cost, he suggested.
Shady Brook Farms plans to start testing the drone in January, and then use it to harvest crops in the spring, he told the Journal Sentinel in an email.
The farm will be in Shady Creek, a small farming community that is popular with farmers, Henna said.
In an interview with the newspaper, Hennens also noted that he wants the farmers to be able to grow crops and to harvest them, which could be a huge step toward getting more people to adopt the technology.
The idea is to use a drone that can fly at an altitude of about 20 feet and can take off and land on the ground as fast as two feet per second.
In the future, the drone might also be able be used to gather water and nutrients, he explained.
For now, however , farmers are only testing the drones in the pilot farm and the initial experiments are only looking at using them for research.
But Hennins hopes to have an open invitation to the farmers for the first time this spring to show them how they could potentially apply for grants to start using the drones.