The explosion in the use of drones for commodity production, especially agriculture, means farmers need to be reminded of the February 22nd deadline to register (with a $5 fee) any drones weighing between .55 to 55 lbs. Rules governing drones were finally released in December by the Federal Aviation Administration. Without registering drones, users can face fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment.
Unlike package delivery and urban photography, where safety and privacy are controversial, use in farming is already accepted and growing quickly as farmers use the tiny, unmanned aircraft to examine soil and crop conditions. Using drones, farmers hope to collect large amounts of useful data that was previously difficult and time consuming to gather, such as how topography and fertilizers affect crop yields. The use of drones is also expected to expand into the production of minerals and petroleum.