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Drones soar over KY Farms - offering new tools for farmers
Kentucky Ag Connection - 02/12/2024

Kentucky farmers are increasingly embracing drone technology, using it for various tasks that improve efficiency and productivity. From monitoring soil health to scouting land and spraying crops, drones offer a unique perspective and valuable data for modern agricultural operations.

This growing trend was evident at the recent Winter Agriculture Conference, where over 100 farmers explored the latest advancements in agricultural technology, including drones. Some attendees, like Josh Lancaster, a farmer from Webster County, already own drones and have seen firsthand their positive impact.

Lancaster, who uses drones on his L. Hust Farms, highlights the cost-saving benefits. While drones come with a hefty price tag, ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 each, Lancaster credits them with lowering his operational expenses. He emphasizes that the precision and efficiency gained through drones offset their initial cost, especially in the face of fluctuating commodity prices.

Beyond efficiency, drones offer flexibility and convenience. Previously, Lancaster relied on expensive helicopter spraying services, which were often hampered by scheduling conflicts. Drones, however, allow him to spray his crops on his own terms, saving time and money.

The technology also sparks interest in the next generation of farmers. Lancaster's children are captivated by the drones and eager to learn more about their operation. This fascination with technology could translate into future involvement in the agricultural industry.

Young people like Graves County High School FFA President Abby Flemmons are also drawn to the innovative advancements in agriculture. She finds the rapid development of agricultural technology fascinating and is eager to see how it shapes the future of farming.

While challenges exist, such as the learning curve and FAA licensing requirements, Lancaster believes the benefits of drones far outweigh the drawbacks. He encourages farmers of all sizes, from small operations to large acreages, to consider incorporating this technology into their practices.

Drones are revolutionizing the way Kentucky farmers approach their work. By offering increased efficiency, flexibility, and even sparking interest in the next generation, this technology is poised to play a significant role in the future of Kentucky agriculture.

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