Decatur hosts conference on drones, farming


A conference on agriculture and drone technology is expected to draw hundreds of people to Decatur Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, organizers said.

The event, called the Midwest Drone Conference and Expo, includes speakers on various topics as well as several companies involved in the growing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry.

“Agriculture will have about 80 percent of the use of all UAV technology,” said organizer Stu Ellis. “Anywhere from scouting a crop, identifying an insect or a fungus … all the way to sending them out to a pasture for counting your cows, all the way to putting a horn on it and bringing them home.”

Among the vendors at the expo is Crop Copter, a UAV firm from Foosland in Champaign County. Matt Barnard, the firm’s owner, said UAV technology can give farmers quick access to valuable information.

“Maybe we apply our nitrogen differently or we try to predict yield or we look, if we have a wind or a hail event, how much that acre is affected in a more accurate and fast way,” Barnard said.

Along with access to UAV companies, the conference also includes talks on topics such as federal drone regulations or insurance requirements.

“A lot of people have seen them fly … they know what they look like, but they really need to know a lot of other things: how they’re used, all of the liability that goes along with them,” organizer Ellis said. “That’s what we want to do at this particular conference.”

Information on the conference can be found here.

Current Conditions
  • Current Events