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Wisconsin company surveys farmland with drones


GRAND MARSH, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin company takes drone photos of agriculture land to help farmers improve their crops as part of a new wave of technology-based jobs in the agriculture sector.

Joe Paul started the New Lisbon-based firm FlightSight to combine his passions for aviation and farming, The Fond du Lac Reporter ( ) reported.

Drones "give producers a whole new view of their operation," Paul said.

The drone's sensors look at farm fields and transfer the information into data and maps that can show farmers things like crop stress and winter kill. That information can inform decisions on planting, irrigation and fertilizing.

"It's not a solve-all problem, they're not going to tell you exactly what your yield is going to be, but it's another tool that allows farmers to increase their scouting efficiency," Paul said.

State officials hope the use of new technology will increase young people's interest in the agriculture industry.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that agriculture equals farming — that to be in agriculture you have to be a farmer," said Wendy Kannel, director of training and leadership development with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. "That's definitely not the case. Farmers are a very important part of agriculture, but we need thousands of people to support farmers."

The number of farms in the state and the nation has been decreasing for decades. State figures show there were 68,900 farms in the state in 2015, 100 less than the year before and 7,600 less than in 2005. But the industry has an economic impact of more than $88 million in the state.

Wisconsin leaders have created a program that would pair older farmers near retirement with young farmers looking to enter into the industry.

This spring the legislature also began work on a bill that would create a Veteran Farmer Assistance and Outreach Program which aims to attract military veterans to farming.


Information from: The Reporter Media,


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