MidWest is key to Agricultural Drone Market

The Midwest states make up the largest percentage of area of land used for agricultural purposes in the country.  The MidWest offers large area's of land for extremely reasonable prices.  This land is usually land that has been over farmed and is neighboring farming communities.  Start ups and expansions of companies like John Deere, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, and other large companies in the MidWest will be the primary purchasers of these large plots of land.  They will most likely purchase this land to build large facilities for engineers and use the extra land to build mock farms or habitats that will allow them to test the equipment and technologies being produced.

With the University of North Dakota's "Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations" four year Bachelors Degree leading the country in qualified graduates and with top notch professors like Ben Trapnell, states in the MidWest are receiving more and more qualified UAS Operations workers as each semester passes.  The first semester of students to graduate from UND with a Bachelors Degree in UASO were just a small number of students but these students all went on to prominent jobs within the industry and some starting their own companies.  With each passing semester the number keeps getting higher and higher and soon at some point UND might be graduating 100+ qualified UAS specialists each Semester.  The MidWest drone market relies heavily on UND graduates working with MidWest Companies projects and also rely on the people who graduate from UND's UASO (Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations) program that start their own drone companies throughout the Midwest.

Do you agree that the MidWest is the key to the Agricultural Drone Market?!

Joshua Johnson - Diy Drones News -

Views: 1333

Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 29, 2013 at 9:46pm
Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 29, 2013 at 10:16pm

I say um a lot in my episodes!! XD

Comment by LanMark on October 30, 2013 at 12:46am

I think KSU and KSU Salina is doing a pretty good job in the sUAS technologies and operations side as well.  The KSU Salina group is who the FAA picked to certify UAV equipment.

I live in the Midwest and I would say that the Midwest is the key to the UAV market as a whole.   Row crops don't care of you spy on them.. there is no privacy concerns with crops.. actually they like it when you spy on them... and of course use that information for providing better care.

What needs to happen is the collection of states that make up the Midwest needs to form a Midwest agriculture UAV association and bring a self regulation and management structure to the FAA to agree to..  much better to bring the solutions to the FAA than to let them decide..  so much like the self regulated AMA.   This collation of states could help break the issue with commercial use of uavs for agriculture.

Comment by LanMark on October 30, 2013 at 12:47am

Joshua I really don't understand your commends on buying land.... seems out of context to the dialog of Midwest ability to capitalize on UAVs.   I am in contact with quite a number of people and most large companies are in a holding pattern due to unknown FAA rules and regulations... to the point they won't even start to go in that direction..  which is good and bad...  good for the startups to blaze a trail and get established but ultimately it also holds back investment dollars in a lot of ways to really get projects off the ground floor.

Do you have job placement numbers for UND?  Seems like graduating so many students in a market that very much is on hold doesn't result in high placement percentages... most probably go or build startups at this point it would seem.

Also I believe the UND program is for UAV pilots.. such as those that fly FPV style on military bases... and not really the on the ground, line of sight with a 12 channel radio controller sort of thing.


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Comment by Gary Mortimer on October 30, 2013 at 1:22am

The technology is being tested widely in Europe already this is my fav because my friend does the flying http://www.projectursula.com/ watching progress in the USA really is like watching the history channel ;-)

I think a moral issue might be raised though, we already over produce and waste a great deal would addressing that not be a better thing to do?

Most of the graduates head of for warm sandy places.

Comment by Gerard Toonstra on October 30, 2013 at 3:09am

The assumption usually is that locally produced foods are for local consumers, but that's not true for some time already. The produce gets transported and redistributed and may serve completely different markets than the one it got created in, as well as only serve one "large" consumer, which is the retail forefront, which really nibbles down on the price for farmers whilst keeping profits for themselves. Unfortunately, the local market has been more or less destroyed in the western world by supermarkets.

Food produced for local or even regional markets produces much more value. In Brazil the logistics costs ramp up the price so much that these local markets still exist. Here you get a very large "farmer's market" for the entire city region where large, medium and small producers sell their goods and where local 'ferrymen' intermediaries transport this to different locations around the region. In the entire process, all the little guys get a little of the pie to sustain their life. If this were replaced by a large corporation which hauls the products off to some 'redistribution plant', none of those guys would be able to sustain a living that way.

The midwest may be really interesting farmland and offer opportunities, but not necessarily to the average Joe given the size of these lands and who they're selling to. I think it's more likely that eventually a larger company drives in, launches their drone with FAA support and covers the entire area in days. It really depends on the size of the farmland and how financially independent these farmers are.

Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 30, 2013 at 1:57pm

@LanMark,  I don't have exact placement numbers but I can ask people that I am in contact with who would have those figures.  Last I heard though the placement rate for these individuals for extremely high and a lot of graduates found $150,000-$250,000+ a year type jobs with large government contract companies like Boeing, Lockheed, Northrup, etc.  I brought up the cheap land close to farmers because it will be essential for these companies agriculture drone  teams to work closely with farmers in their area to not only help develop products that farmers need but also it's great publicity/advertising to the farming to community.  

Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 30, 2013 at 2:00pm

@Gary,  Yeah the sad thing is the U.S. is stalling its own drone market by holding the civilian sector hostage while they gain what they need off the military contracts and such.  At least efforts within this website and other places are helping to keep the U.S. up to pace on what's going on in the international drone market/industry.

Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 30, 2013 at 2:06pm

@Gerard,  I personally agree on the aspect that most farmers are hostage to big companies and trading prices of goods.  Also they are hostage to the prices of water, farming equipment, and fees to have someone in a helicopter take photos of your crops to check for plant health and disease.  It costs farmers millions of dollars over a lifetime to rent out helicopters or pay someone to do it in the Midwest because of extremely large our farms are in terms of square miles or acres.  These extremely large crop fields in the Midwest are the farmers that are going to benefit the most from autonomous aircraft , autonomous farm equipment, and watering systems.  One of the biggest ways farmers in the Midwest can start releasing themselves from these slave like circumstances they have been under is by the emergence of companies and regulations to support agriculture around the Midwest first but then the entire U.S. overall. 

Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 30, 2013 at 2:07pm

@LanMark, I totally agreeKansas State University's Unmanned Aircraft System Bachelors is equally as important and impressive as UND's program.  I've looked into creating or starting an agricultural drone association in the Midwest or at least start one within Minnesota and hope it spreads to other states to join in on the group.  As you stated I'd much rather have the people who use them (Hobbyists and business people) then the FAA just throwing out regulations based off just their own judgement. 

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