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As Drone Use in Farming Grows, So Do Privacy and Security Concerns

A drone flying above a farm

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As Drone Use in Farming Grows, So Do Privacy and Security Concerns

Drone use in the agricultural sector is increasing steadily. Be it for crop monitoring, soil and field analysis, or for the health assessment of crops and livestock, the popularity of drones is flourishing on the farm. However, along with this concerns about privacy issues as well as the security of data gathered by drone have emerged.

A survey conducted in April 2018 on 269 U.S. farmers by the Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., shows that 74% U.S. farmers are currently using or considering adopting drone technology to assess, monitor and manage their farms.

Of the respondents almost three-quarters say they have concerns related to using drones on their farms, with  23% concern for privacy issues, 20% for cyber security concerns of that data being transferred, and 17% over potential damage/injury from the drone.

“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, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

Of the technology using farmers, 49% of farmers’ contracts with an outside company to operate their drones and 51% farmers handle drones on their own. Almost 83% of the respondents use drones on their farms daily or once a week or more.

“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.”

However, many farmers do not currently hold insurance policies that cover drone usage, and most traditional commercial insurance policies either don’t cover or offer very limited liability protection for drones.

“Fortunately, a majority of farmers are talking to their insurance company about their drone usage,” said Dunn.

“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,” he concluded.


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