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Decatur Ag Show Promotes Drones

Updated: Friday, July 11 2014, 03:30 PM CDT

The first of it's kind.
Drones take center stage in Decatur today.

That is where we find Newschannel at Nine's Alicia Lewis with the details of the first Precision Aerial Ag show

We are here inside progress city in Decatur for day two of the Precision Aerial Ag show.

So what's the show about? And how is it helping agri-business locally?
We spoke to the experts to find out.

This is an unmanned aerial vehicle otherwise known as a UAV or a drone.

These UAVs are the reason why hundreds of people from around the globe are participating in the first ever Precision Aerial Ag show in Decatur.

"This is an industry that provides technology for a lot of different disciplines, agriculture probably being probably one of the first major uses of this technology."

A UAV is a small battery operated device that is fully equipped to carry cameras and other sensing devices.

"When you have a small ship that can fly in a pattern over your field taking pictures that will show diseases, weeds, maybe fertility challenges that the naked eye cannot see. That will give a farmer the opportunity to address that challenge."

Challenges that many farmers like David Brix have to deal with.
Typically to check for diseases or weeds in his crops, he has to walk through his fields, which he says takes hours.

"The best way to do it, instead of scouting and doing stuff like that is to fly a drone over the top of it and get it done a lot quicker."

Since this technology is fairly new in the U.S., Illinois Director of Agriculture Bob Flider says this show helps make Illinois agriculture the number one industry in the state.

"I don't even think we've tipped the iceberg on what types of new opportunities we'll see because of new technology like this."

UAV technology is designed to enhance the farmers efficiency and productivity, which is why the show will have on site experts to discuss the technology, the laws, and the risks.

Although UAV technology continues to grow, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits commercial use of drones. The agency has until September 2015 to come up with enforceable laws on the matter.

In the meantime, the ag show here did get special permission to fly the drones, with certain restrictions.

Decatur Ag Show Promotes Drones

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