Call it a hot technology, call it a fad, call it what you will, but the unmanned aerial system (UAS) has captured the imagination of the American farmer. And if you're interested in getting a better understanding of how these remote flyers work, there's a new show set for July 9 and 10 in Decatur, Ill., that offers you plenty of information. And a highlight will be actual flight demos of the different automated tools too.
The Precision Aerial Ag Show will be held at Progress City, the Illinois location for the Farm Progress Show.
Stu Ellis, show organizer, notes that the attraction of the show will be those open air flight demonstrations. While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has limited UAS use to only recreational purposes - a point of contention for agriculture - show organizers are working under the rules of the Academy of Model Aeronautics to allow for the flights. "The Precision Aerial Ag Show is an AMA-sanctioned event for Class D technology demonstrations," he notes.
Ellis is with AgEngage, a Decatur, Ill., firm sponsoring educational seminars for farmers and partnering with Farm Industry News and Farm Progress for the event.
UAS technology works in a variety of ways and at this show you'll have a chance to learn more about how each works in the aerial demonstration area. However, all marketing and sales discussions, and added details will only be available in the exhibit area, Ellis explains.
And show visitors will have the chance to learn more from a range of presentations to help potential users understand the technology.
A look at the speakers
Headlining the event is Brendan Schulman, attorney, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP from New York, N.Y., who will be on hand both days. Schulman will offer observations regarding the FAA and your unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Schulman represented an aerial photographer who won a recent case against the FAA and is also represents EquuSearch, a Texas Company that uses UAVs to search for missing people. That group has filed a lawsuit against FAA to overturn prohibition of UAV use of its efforts. The legal landscape for the UAV is changing and Schulman can offer in-depth insight on this topic.
For the technical side of UAV use, Terry Brase, professor, ag geospatial technologies, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will discuss the finer points of collecting and using information from a UAV. Working with precision tech since 1993, Brase teaches courses on precision ag hardware and geospatial data collection and overseas use of technology at the Kirkwood Farm Laboratory. He'll be on hand for presentations for both days of the show.
And Brent Johnson, Lebre Crop Consulting, Manson, Iowa, will offer an in-depth look at use of UAV technology in precision agriculture. He's been using the technology on his farm to measure topography, watch emergence and measure field stresses.
Melba Crawford, professor of agronomy and civil engineering at Purdue University will tackle the issue of overlaying information and integrating UAV data for better precision agriculture decision making. Crawford is the director of the Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing at Purdue and offers a unique perspective for turning collected data into useful knowledge.
Bill Wiebold, extension agronomist, University of Missouri will explore the use of UAVs on the farm in a talk called "UAV's in tomorrow's agriculture." Weibold works through educational programs targeting growers.
Dennis Bowman, crop systems specialist, University of Illinois, will explore building or modifying your UAV to tailor it to your farming operation. Bowman has a long history of working with farmers throughout Illinois, and today is responsible for crop production programming and support in East Central Illinois.
Familiar presenters at the show
Farm Broadcaster Max Armstrong will be on hand for the show's opening day July 9. He'll be moderating a panel of UAV owners to discuss how they're applying the technology on their farms; and their vision for the future as commercial use becomes a reality.
Chad Colby, AgTechTalk.com, will be on hand both days looking at what you should consider when making a UAV purchase; and he'll moderate the user panel on July 10.
The first outdoor show of its type, the Precision Aerial Ag Show offers owners and potential owners of these new-tech systems to fine-tune their use and purchasing decisions. You can learn more by visiting www.paas2014.com. Farm Progress and Farm Industry News are partners with the 2014 show. Check out the seminar schedule below.