Farmers unsure of drone registration requirements

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released the rules of registering a personal unmanned aircraft system (UAS), such as a drone, weighing over 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. 

However, the rule only applies to hobbyists and recreational drone use, leaving farmers unsure of what they need to do to be able to fly their UAS, according to Carla Hornady of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

“We think this is a step in the right direction, but the largest beneficiary from UAS technology — the business sector — is stalled on the ground,” Hornady, the Cotton, Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grains Division's director, said. “Farmers have an excellent track record when caring for their livestock, their land and their communities, and the same applies to U.S. airways.”

The current rule states that all unmanned aircraft must be registered. If the device was purchased before Dec. 21, 2015, it must be registered no later than Feb. 19, 2016. Devices purchased after Dec. 21, 2015, must be registered before the owner uses it for the first time. 

“I think the registration isn’t that bad,” Alabama farmer Mitch Lazenby said. “If all we have to do is register so they know who’s using the technology, that’s fine. UAS are very beneficial tools. I think people need to know where they are, because they could also be misused. On the front end, it’s very benign and basic, but I’m also cautious about how the information could be used in the future.”

The normal fee is $5, but the FAA is waving the fee until Jan. 20, 2016.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiasts are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Organizations in this Story

Alabama Farmers Federation

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