The US Department of Agriculture, or USDA, says the average farmer has more than 3.5 drones per acre, with farmers in the western US spending nearly $1,200 per drone per year.
And, as Recode’s Andrew Kaczynski reported last week, the USDA estimates drone use will reach 5 percent of the US farm workforce by 2020.
The government says that’s just a fraction of the drones flying over the country today.
“It’s definitely a lot,” USDA drone program manager Kevin Miller said at a recent event at the University of Wisconsin.
The drone-friendly USDA is working to develop new technologies to help farmers in remote areas, including remote sensing, drone-assisted irrigation, and even a new “robot-like” farming system.
The agency is also trying to reduce the number of drone-related crashes in the US by 2025.
As we reported last year, there’s some good news for drone users: the US has passed 100,000 drone crashes in 2018, with nearly 2.2 million of those cases involving drones.