CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The University of Tennessee and its sister school Tennessee State University teamed up with the United States Department of Agriculture Tuesday evening to provide Carter County farmers with an agricultural drone program.
UT Agriculture Extension Agent Kathleen Wilson launched the program in efforts of easing the day-to-day workload farmers might experience.
“We wanted to provide a program for producers to use innovative technology in their programming,” Wilson said. “This will save them some windshield time because instead of getting out in the truck to check on things, they can use drones to fly over and check fences or cattle.
“Drones could give them an idea of where there could be issues.”
The program launch featured a demonstration and presentation from TSU Associate Professor Jason de Koff who teaches agronomy and soil science at the main campus in Nashville.
“The big advantage is really with the time-saving factor and the labor,” de Koff said. “Being able to reduce that can be a huge overall savings, and it can help to pay for the drone over time.”
Observers snatched the opportunity to test fly drones for themselves to see if it would benefit them and their farms.
“This is a chance for farmers to get comfortable with drones,” Wilson said. “This allows them to get hands-on experience with drones and utilize them before they go out and purchase one.”
According to Wilson and de Koff, drones offer an array of benefits for farmers depending on the type and size of the farm.
“Some of the biggest benefits are just using the video camera that comes with the drone,” de Koff said. “You can get out to areas a lot quicker. You can look at things in a field like crops or animals and just check on them and see how they’re doing.”
The Carter County agricultural drone program will be one of ten within Tennessee.