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Harvesting Innovation: FarmFleet and Futurology Elevate Agriculture at US Spray Drone User Conference


FarmFleet and Futurology attended the 2nd US Spray Drone User Conference from February 26th to 29th in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The event was hosted by Auburn University Extension for the second time. The inaugural Spray Drone End-User Conference took place virtually in 2023, with 220 attendees. This year, the conference, led by Dr. Steve Li, an Alabama Extension weed scientist, and his team, adopted a hybrid format, attracting nearly 400 industry experts, unmanned aircraft operators, and agricultural producers from 40+ states and 20 different countries.

The conference highlighted the latest advancements in agricultural drone technology and precision spraying solutions, showcasing the rapid growth of agricultural drones in the US. With farmers expressing increasing interest, these drones offer significant potential, providing functions that reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, cut production costs, and improve farming efficiency.

FarmFleet and Futurology Founder Valerii Iakovenko, an internationally acknowledged expert in agricultural drones, actively participated in the conference, contributing to various sessions. Valerii also represents the Agricultural Committee of the Pennsylvania Drone Association, where he has been serving as the elected chairman since February 2024.

The conference covered a range of topics, including technical field demonstrations, regulatory updates from entities like the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and presentations from renowned researchers, equipment manufacturers, and experienced drone operators. A significant focus was placed on regulatory issues, with the US recognized for having supportive and friendly regulations towards drone spraying.

Dr. Li, the conference organizer and leader, prioritized drones in his research, addressing the needs of farmers for better spraying options. The success of this annual conference validates the direction of their efforts.

A highlight of the event was the showcase of industry-leading drone sprayers from overseas giants like XAG and DJI, as well as US manufacturers like Hylio. These multi-rotor sprayer platforms, though varying in technical characteristics, share core values benefiting farmers by redefining farming operations with precision, efficiency, and sustainability. Live flight demonstrations allowed attendees to experience the ease of operation and effectiveness of these sprayer drones.

XAG's Co-founder, Justin Gong, contributed to the conference by sharing insights and expertise during keynote speech and panel discussions, emphasizing the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and the role of drones in modern farming.

Discussions at the conference explored the application prospects of agricultural drones in the vast US market, addressing challenges such as rural aging, resource scarcity, and climate change. The conference emerged as a hub for knowledge and innovation, providing an essential platform for farmers, researchers, and tech enthusiasts to explore the latest developments in drone technology.