10 Non-murderous Things Drones Do Every Day

Flying Farmers
A demonstration event in China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in October 2012 showed off the ability of UAVs to monitor agriculture, forestry, land resources and water resources. © Wang Peng/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Farming and ranching are arduous livelihoods, made all the more difficult when landowners must traverse many miles and thousands of acres to check on crops and livestock. Drones skip the slow, muddy roads altogether and take the skies to look for signs of disease, examine crops, or even apply chemicals like fertilizer or herbicide.

Not only does this save farmers from a lot of driving (and gas), it could result in better land management, which could then increase overall yields. Drones also help farmers keep an eye on all of their property and equipment.

Most large farms in the U.S. are in rural areas, where there are fewer concerns about privacy and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) policies regarding small flying craft. So long as the drones remain at less than 400 feet high, they are legal for such purposes.

The next time you see what looks like a tiny crop duster in the distance, look again – it could be that your local farmer is taking his agricultural technology to new heights.