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Fort Valley State University takes agriculture to the sky with drone technology

The drones fly over the fields, allowing students to inspect crops for imperfections and disease and see which areas need more watering

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — If you go to Fort Valley State University you're sure to find students, books, and now even drones. The school is now using the technology to teach students how they can protect crops year-round.

"My major is agricultural engineering," Jaylin Irby said. 

At Fort Valley State, students like Jaylin Irby are getting a higher education.

"The machinery, just working with the machinery is kind of interesting," Irby said.

One machine taking off at Fort Valley State is drone technology. 

"It makes the process of scanning fields less time consuming," he said. 

Department Chair for Engineering Technology for Fort Valley State Archie Williams says the program took flight in 2014.

"We were thinking drone technology was still new at the time, it piqued our interest, because you know we are like technology guys," Williams said. 

Williams says students get the chance to fly the drones. The goal is to inspect the farmland for imperfections in the crops.

"From these light waves we can see which ones are stressed, which ones have disease, we can even see temperature gradients," Williams said.

The drones can even see what sections of land need more watering, which can prevent crop loss and help farmers keep cash in their wallets. 

"Drones are a little more cost effective, less dangerous than having people fly over," Williams said.

Williams says this technology helps them spot problems immediately. So he hopes students like Irby pick up quickly.

"I'm interested in it, I would be more than welcome in learning how to use a drone," Williams said.

He hopes this gives students a new point of view when it comes to agriculture and added students get to fly the drones on the universities farms. 

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