Pixabay / Creative Commons

A company that delivers blood and medicine using drone technology is looking to expand its operations across the US, reports Consumerist.com. This could be great news for many Americans who live in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

Rural Blog

It seems that every week some enterprising individual invents a new use for drone technology. As The Rural Blog noted last week, drones have been used for wildlife research and preservation, for catching other rogue drones, and even for end-of-life care.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media

The Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Mo.., is a long way from Silicon Valley.

But here in a huge arena, set in what used to be the Kansas City Stockyards, the high-tech future of agriculture is for sale.

Casey Adams and Scott Jackman, co-owners of Fly Ag Tech, have their large yellow and white drone sitting at center stage in their booth at this huge annual trade show.

FHSU Gets More Than $700K Federal Grant for Ag Program

Feb 14, 2016
Fort Hays State University

HAYS – Fort Hay State University has been awarded a grant of more than $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop curricula focused on the use of small unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture, the university announced in February.

The program, under development by FHSU, is expected to enhance and improve the technical and analytical skill sets of future farm managers, technicians and crop advisors. The grant is part of a $4 million award to Non-Land Grant Colleges and Universities, according to a press release.

Drone Users Need to Know the Do's and Don'ts

Feb 11, 2016
Brad Nading / Telegram

When Yuriy Drubinskiy was flying his DGI Phantom Vision II Plus drone over Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City recently, he was surprised to see a warning come over his smart phone.

Through an app on his phone, he received a text message from the Federal Aviation Administration telling him the zoo was a no-fly zone. The GPS on the plane linked with the app and let the FAA know where he was flying.

Drone Owners May Soon Need to Register Their Crafts

Nov 30, 2015
Kevin Baird / Flickr Creative Commons

A task force has recommended a process to register drones to the Federal Aviation Administration. Owners of all but the smallest toy drones may soon have to register them with the U.S. government, reports The Rural Blog. That’s if the Obama administration adopts the proposals issued by the task force. Registration is designed to make it easier for authorities to track down the growing numbers of illegal flights. 

Xcel drones could aid line inspections

May 21, 2015

There’s a new eye in the sky in the Texas Panhandle, and it’s helping monitor the electric lines. Southwestern Public Service is exploring the use of drones. SPS’s parent company, Xcel Energy, has permission to use the technology. Wes Reeves is the spokesman for SPS. He says there are some clear advantages of drone use in the rough panhandle terrain. Reeves says air assessment also has distinct advantages in disasters like the 2014 Fritch wildfire. The Federal Aviation Administration approved Xcel’s request earlier this month. The company will use the drones to survey transmission and distribution lines, power plants, renewable energy facilities, substations, and natural gas pipelines it has in other regions.

Farmers Flying Drones May Soon Be Given Clearance

May 19, 2015

In eastern Colorado, some farmers are breaking the law flying drones to pinpoint which parts of their fields need fertilizer, water, weed killer, or seed. Jean Hediger is one of the law breakers. The 60 some year old farmer says she has pure intentions, and preventing use of this technology is keeping farmers in the dark ages. Those who risk using the drones without permission from federal authorities could face penalties of thousands of dollars… up to 27 thousand dollars. That might change- soon. The Federal Aviation Administration proposed new rules in February allowing people to fly small unmanned aircraft for commercial reasons. Drone operators would have to be certified and keep their devices in sight during flight. Currently, the FAA allows farmers and other to apply for exemptions. About 300 have been granted, but the process is lengthy.. and there are about 1,000 people already on the waiting list.

On a breezy morning next to a cornfield in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors.

"This one just flies itself," he says. "It's fully autonomous."

Underhill is a drone technician with Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone startup that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he's training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.

L. Brian Stauffer / www.news.illinois.edu

The FAA’s proposed rules for flying drones pose a basic problem for rural users.  The rules are based on two purposes of use, hobby versus commercial, rather than where the drone is being flown, a wide open rural area versus near an urban airport.  Consequently, many potential rural uses such as checking crops or inspecting powers lines will fall under the proposed commercial rules applied to all areas of the U.S.

Lima Pix/Flickr

An independent journalist says he’s found a way around the so-called “ag-gag” laws – flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based environmental blogger, raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy drones and other equipment to do investigative work tracking animal abuse and pollution problems on large livestock operations.

Drones: Coming soon to a farm near you?

Mar 24, 2014
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

Tech-savvy farmers have been waiting for years for the government to make up its mind about the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Right now, anyone flying a drone for business instead of as a hobby is actually breaking federal law. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees U.S. airspace, says it plans to roll out rules for drones this year.

Drones Used To Diagnose Diseased Wheat Fields

Dec 10, 2013
Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Dr. Charlie Rush is a plant pathologist at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo.  He’s partnered with Ian Johnson, a Montana State University-Bozeman graduate student, who’s using his work in the university’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking Program to help conduct research using a helicopter drone according to AgriLife.


Deer Trail, Colorado has postponed voting on drone hunting until December 10 reported the Denver Post.  Mayor Frank Fields said the previous date was too close to the November election.

Deer Trail residents will be deciding upon approval of an ordinance allowing unmanned aircraft to be shot down.  

Drones: New High Plains Hunting Sport?

Oct 23, 2013

There could be a new kind of hunting season on the high plains, and the object of the hunter’s focus?  Drones. 

Drones are flying objects, typically equipped with cameras.  They range in size, up to several feet across.  The number of blades vary, and they are built and operated primarily by hobbyists and others for personal use.  Video is a large part of the appeal, allowing life to be seen from another perspective.