Law Simplifies Drone Operator Licensing for Pesticide Spraying

Law Simplifies Drone Operator Licensing for Pesticide Spraying

California Governor Newsom recently signed AB 1016 into law, which will streamline the process of getting a license to fly a drone for pesticide application.

San Luis Obispo Farm Bureau’s Executive Director Brent Burchett tells us what that bill means for California agriculture.

“A bill that would change the process to allow pesticide applicators to use aerial drones for pesticide applications. And right now… predominantly the aerial applications are through helicopters and airplanes. So this was an effort to make it easier in the process, a little bit more simple for folks that wanted to have that drone application for pesticides. And that's really the future of agriculture, not just here in California. So that was needed.”

Using drones for spraying reduces pesticide usage per acre by precisely targeting affected areas, rather than applying a uniform blanket. This not only safeguards agricultural workers from direct pesticide exposure but also cuts down on crop protection costs.

As of right now, it’s still illegal to spray pesticide with a drone without possessing an unmanned pest control aircraft pilot's certificate. These are issued by the director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

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