Friday, May 20, 2016

Drones will be the future of collecting agricultural data, says Agriculture Dept. technology officer

Drones are the future of advanced agriculture data, said Michael Valivullah, chief technology officer at the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which is housed at the Department of Agriculture, Corinne Lestch reports for FedScoop. Valivullah, who was speaking Wednesday in Washington D.C. at the MarkLogic Data Innovation Summit, said, “Farmers are going to be more dependent on drones. Drones are a lot cheaper and can gather high-resolution, sensitive data. So a farmer or rancher will be able to understand what they have in their operation.”

Of the more than 2.3 billion acres of land across the U.S., about 900 million are farmland, Valivullah said. "USDA keeps track of farmers who produce and sell products that are worth more than $1,000 in a central database. The agency once used traditional paper and pens to collect information, but it started sending out electronic forms—as well as iPads and tablets—a few years ago to researchers in the field." Valivullah said drones will be a better way of collecting data.

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