New F.A.A. Drone Rule And Farm Operation Impacts

Basics Of New Aerial Drone Rule–new rule covering use of unmanned aerial systems includes a range of operational and system points.  What might a new rule for unmanned aerial system operation mean for ag operators using such technology?  Joe Mora of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The New Small Drone Rule is in Effect!

Here’s some important information about the Part 107 small drone rule that became effective August 29.

A new world of opportunities for drone operators opens next week when the new small drone rule for non-hobbyists becomes effective. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to make sure you have the information you’ll need to take advantage of those opportunities.

Aeronautical Knowledge Test

One very important step you have to take is to obtain your remote pilot certificate. Under the new rule—also known as Part 107—the person actually flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate.

To qualify for the certificate, you must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. If you are qualifying under the latter provision, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take an FAA UAS online training course. The Transportation Security Administration will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

The FAA has posted extensive materials, including a test guide and sample questions, to help you prepare for the knowledge test. You can review the materials by clicking on the “Knowledge Test Prep Part 107” button at  You also can watch a short video about the knowledge test here:

For more detailed information, please see:

Summary of the Small UAS Rule (PDF)

Small UAS Advisory Circular – How to Use the Rule (PDF)

Complete Text of the Small UAS Rule

Part 107 Knowledge Test Prep

Before you Fly Smartphone App

Need more information on getting started:

How to FlyFly a UAS for fun

Fly a UAS for work or business

Register your UAS

Become a UAS pilot (coming soon)

Apply for a waiver to Part 107 (coming soon)

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Latest Quarterly Export Forecasts for 2016 and 2017

August 25, 2016, Washington, DC.–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the first forecast for U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2017 and a revised forecast for fiscal year 2016. Both forecasts indicate U.S. agricultural exports have begun to rally and will continue the record-setting pace that began in 2009.

“These numbers once again demonstrate the resiliency and reliability of U.S. farmers and ranchers in the face of continued challenges. The projected $133 billion in total exports for FY 2017 is up $6 billion from last forecast and would be the sixth-highest total on record. The United States’ agricultural trade surplus is also projected to rise to $19.5 billion, up 40 percent from $13.9 billion in FY 2016. The United States has continued to post an agricultural trade surplus since recordkeeping began in the 1960s.

“The projected growth in exports in 2017 is led by increases in overseas sales of U.S. oilseeds and products, horticultural goods, cotton, livestock, dairy and poultry. And with a rise in global economic growth, global beef demand is expected to strengthen. While USDA continues working to eliminate the remaining restrictions on U.S. beef exports that were instituted by some trading partners as a result of the December 2003 BSE detection, U.S. beef exports have recovered. U.S. beef exports are expected to reach $5.3 billion in 2017, well above the $1.5 billion exported in FY 2004. This progress is due to USDA’s work under the Obama Administration to eliminate BSE-related restrictions in countries around the world, including 16 countries since January 2015. BEEF FACT SHEET

“China is projected to return as the United States’ top export market in 2017, surpassing Canada as the number one destination for U.S. agricultural goods.

“USDA also revised the forecast for FY 2016 exports to $127 billion, up $2.5 billion from the previous forecast. This would bring total agricultural exports since 2009 to more than $1 trillion, smashing all previous eight-year totals.

“Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs on and off the farm. The United States has the opportunity to expand those benefits even further through passage of new trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Such agreements are key to a stable and prosperous farm economy, helping boost global demand for U.S. farm and food products, increasing U.S. market share versus our competitors, and ensuring that our farmers and ranchers have stable and predictable markets for the quality goods they produce.”

USDA Ups 2016 Export Forecast and Projects Growth in 2017 Exports

2017 U.S. agricultural exports could show their first yearly increase since 2013.  2016 and 2017 export volume forecasts for wheat. rice, corn, feed grains and oil seeds. New export forecasts for cotton. Gary Crawford and Rob Johansson

National Weather Review

Tropical Storm Activity Picks Up In The Atlantic–Two named storms, and the potential of a third, are churning in the Atlantic as the hurricane season enters what is usually its most active time.
Topsoil Moisture Gets a Boost Along The Nation’s Mid-Section–States from Louisiana to Minnesota are reporting appreciable gains in topsoil moisture this week. And a review of dry pockets in the U.S. with very short to short topsoil moisture ratings.  Rod Bain and USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey