Survey shows drone adoption rate by farmers

By Luke Geiver | July 31, 2018

According to a study recently unveiled by Munich Reinsurance America Inc., nearly three-fourths of all U.S. farmers “are currently using or considering adopting the technology to assess, monitor and manage their farm.”

Munich surveyed 269 farmers for input on how farmers are using or viewing drones. Most of the farmers surveyed have concerns related to drone usage (76 percent). Privacy issues, at 23 percent, was the most common concern held among farmers, followed by cyber security concerns with data captured via drone (20 percent) and then the possibility of injury or damage from the drone (17 percent).

“As Federal Aviation Administration regulations open up the skies to the use of commercial drones, we are seeing a growing investment in the technology by farmers focused on precision agriculture or smart farming,” said Jason Dunn, strategic products expert. “Whether a farm has less than 100 or more than 5,000 acres, drones can be the eyes and ears for farmers that want to efficiently and cost effectively monitor and manage crops, livestock and soil conditions. However, farmers may be exposing their business to new risks related to drone usage, and their insurance coverage may not have kept pace with the rapid development and use of this technology.”

Roughly half of the farmers that use drones contract the work to outside service suppliers. Almost 84 percent say they use drones either daily or more than once a week. Crop monitoring, at 73 percent, is the most popular usage of drones by farmers, followed by soil and field analysis at 46 percent and health assessment of crops and livestock at 43 percent.

According to Munich, traditional commercial insurance policies don’t cover or offer very limited liability protection for drones. Farmers should speak with their agents or brokers to insure that their policy protects against privacy claims as well as bodily injury and property damage incurred as a result of drone usage.