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Four Farmers Form Flying AG
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer a whole new perspective on how you scout and manage your fields.
“Before using UAVs, I had to walk fields with 10-foot corn in the heat of the day to look for problem areas,” says Indiana farmer Corey Jacobs. “Now, I can scout my fields from above to get a bird’s-eye view of crops and to identify issues earlier. Boots on the ground can then target those specific areas that need attention.”
Jacobs saw the immediate benefit of UAVs in his operation, where he raises hogs and grows 1,500 acres of corn.
“This technology provides real-time information that can impact current high-value crops and the long-term future of established fields, groves, and vineyards,” says California farmer Martin Hein. “Aerial imaging provides immediate data so I can react quickly to changing conditions.”
A fourth-generation grower, Hein manages 5,500 acres of almonds, avocados, citrus, and grapes. As a commercial grower and an accredited farm manager, he knows firsthand how real-time information can impact crops. He, too, relies on aerial imagery to provide immediate data so he can react swiftly to varying conditions.
In addition to variable-rate planting and input applications, Randy Aberle, who farms 1,500-acres outside Gibson City, Illinois, has also integrated aerial imaging into his operation.
He has been flying his corn, soybean, and wheat fields for the last five years. The technology has allowed him to pinpoint problems like hail damage and bug infestations earlier than ever before.
Soon after learning about UAVs’ application in ag, Jason Schmidt also recognized the value of aerial imaging. “When I went to purchase a UAV, there were so many options, I didn’t know which way to go,” he remembers.
Schmidt, who farmed in central Illinois and is a Channel Seed salesperson, had also heard about issues growers were having with homemade UAVs.
Seeing a gap in the industry, the four men joined forces to form Flying AG.
“There wasn’t any one place you could go to get help to find a value-added system,” says Schmidt. “You don’t have to spend $6,000 when you could spend $2,000 and have everything you need.”
They sell existing platforms, like the DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Inspire 1. The added value comes from the service after the sale.
“We want to provide good-value unmanned aerial systems and expert technical support to farmers who want an advantage in both prosperous and challenging times,” notes Schmidt.
The team also offers DroneDeploy, which allows you to set up a mapping system and take images.
“You can upload those to the website, and it processes the data for you,” says Jacobs. “There’s no real reason to convert images with what we are able to do with DroneDeploy.”