Webinar Series

Webinar 10: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: UAS for Turfgrass & Drones for STEM / STEAM Education

Join us on June 21st at 2pm Central Time for the 10th in a year-long series of webinars.

Dale Bremer copy_2011
Dr. Dale Bremer of Kansas State University will discuss applications for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in turfgrass research.


Dr. Dale Bremer is a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources at Kansas State University. His current responsibilities include research in turfgrass science, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in horticulture, advising graduate students in their master’s and doctoral programs, and advising undergraduate students in turf-related curriculums. He also serves as the departmental Director of Graduate Programs.

Dale received a B.S. in Agronomy in 1985 at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a M.S. in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1998 in Agronomy at Kansas State University. Dr. Bremer’s research interests include, among other things, water conservation, environmental plant stress issues, greenhouse gas emissions, and of course unmanned aircraft systems applications in turfgrass.


Oregon State University Extension and Experiment Station CommunicationsLearnUASAg’s Victor Villegas (aka The Drone Singer) will present on STEAM activities at Oregon State University.

Victor Villegas is the Technology & Media Support Coordinator for Oregon State University Extension. Victor is an avowed aero geek and has had a lifelong interest in aeronautics. He originally studied aviation in college and has experience flying full size aircraft as well as R/C airplanes, helicopters and drones.Victor is a drone advocate, co-moderates the Unmanned Aircraft and Agriculture and the Unmanned Aircraft Operators Google+ communities and loves to “drone on” about UAS technology, information, news and research every chance he gets. Victor also has the unusual distinction of being the world’s number one composer of quirky drone songs, published under the moniker – DroneSinger. As the “Weird Al of Drones”, he uses humor to educate and bring attention to drone issues and culture, while promoting their safe and responsible use.We will wrap up with the latest Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) updates.

Webinar 9: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: UAS Technologies & UAS in Education (recent FAA memo)

UAS Technologies and Soil Mapping Platform


Dr. Maciej Stachura CTO of BlackSwift Technologies will present on their operations, what their company does and vehicles used by customers for agricultural applications. Maciej will also discuss work with NASA to develop soil moisture mapping platform that could become an integral part of precision agriculture.

Maciej has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado working on UAS related research and has been involved in over 500 flights with unmanned aircraft. This work also involved working closely with the FAA to secure permission to perform flights legally in the National Airspace System.

Maciej is also the principal investigator for a NASA project to map soil moisture from a small UAS utilizing an L-band radiometer.


Educational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) FAA Update

Woldt PhotoDr. Wayne Woldt of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and UAS in Agriculture Learning Network Lead, will discuss the May 4, 2016 release of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Memorandum of the interpretation of Educational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Dr. Woldt has developed a research and Extension program on the application of unmanned aircraft systems in agriculture and natural resources at The University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Specific areas of research and education include: deployment and flight operations of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), performance characterization of autonomous navigation systems, sensor system development, sensor integration, and information management.

He has a private pilot certificate, and has been conducting flight operations for 3 years within the context of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Certificates of Authorization (COAs).  In addition, he has developed and delivered numerous Extension educational programs on unmanned aircraft in agriculture.

Webinar 8: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Sensor Integration / Commercial Production & Field Research

Sensor Integration for UAS Flight Controllers

majapicDr.  Joe Mari Maja is a research sensor engineer at Clemson University’s Edisto Research and Education Center. His main work has centered on developing sensor automation technologies for South Carolina farmers and Clemson’s research scientists. He is currently in charge of the Sensor Laboratory at the Center where the technologies he develops are fabricated. The Sensor Laboratory is a unique laboratory in the Center where design and fabrication of electronic modules and its enclosure can be manufactured.

Prior to his work at Clemson, he worked as a Research Engineer at the Eagle Flight Research Center of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL. His work with the Eagle Flight Research Center was in the area of development of automation for manned aircraft.

Dr. Maja has developed several different technologies and you can find examples at www.iad4sc.com .

Presentation Description: In this segment of the webinar, Dr. Joe Mari Maja of Clemson University will report on Sensor Integration for UAS Flight Controllers. Sensors such as cameras have specific triggering requirements so Dr. Maja will present examples of triggering techniques that he uses. Although the techniques are specific to the Mikrokopter platform, the general concept discussed may be used for other Flight Controllers on the market.
Using Unmanned Aircraft for Commercial Production and Field Research

head shot of Dr. Kurt NolteKurt D. Nolte, PhD
University of Arizona, Yuma County Cooperative Extension Director and Area Extension Agent
University of Arizona, Yuma County Economic Development Director
B.S. 1984,   University of California, Riverside
M.S. 1989,   University of California, Riverside
Ph.D. 1994, University of Florida

Dr. Nolte contributes to a team of faculty and staff to best serve the desert production areas of southwestern US by promoting a conduit of information flux to benefit growers with the long-term goal of improving farm profitability while minimizing adverse effects to the environment.  Kurt integrates the use of UAV technologies, imaging systems and post-flight processing into desert fruit and vegetable cropping systems to provide either research or commercial utility.  Dr. Nolte also assists with the coordination of field demonstrations and application based research projects areas involving irrigation management, pest control, food safety, reduced tillage and field labor.

Presentation Description: The use of micro-UAVs (Unmanned-Aerial-Vehicles) for field researcher and commercial production has recently gained considerable attention as an alternative image capture and data acquisition platform.  This brief presentation will include a brief overview of using UAVs in 3D field modeling, plant stand assessment, plant growth dynamics, NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) ratio calculations, irrigation monitoring and aerial pollination.


Webinar 7: Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Agriculture: Pest Management & Flight Performance

Dr. Ian MacRae of The University of Minnesota, Crookston will report on using remote sensing mounted on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS or drones) to determine the within-field distribution of insects and plant disease in various agricultural cropping systems.

Dr. Wayne Woldt of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln will then discuss measures of performance for a fixed wing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) serving as a sensor platform for production agriculture. UAS deployment in production agriculture require that onboard navigation systems guide the aircraft according to predefined flight plans for accurate sensor placement. This presentation will present a summary of fixed wing UAS performance measures for predefined flight paths, indicated air speed (IAS), and altitude (MSL). A transit pattern was selected to test the autonomous navigation system, featuring GPS waypoints and rectangular loops, with each complete loop shifting incrementally across a research field. Results demonstrated both great promise, and an associated potential for improvement, in currently available unmanned aircraft with autonomous navigation systems deployed for sensor placement over large parcels of agricultural land

The webinar will then wrap up with the latest FAA Updates.

The webinar will be recorded and archived on the Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Agriculture website learnUASAg.org and YouTube channel.      


Webinar 6: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Remote Sensing and “Nuts & Bolts” of UAS February 17, 2016 – 2pm CT

Dr. Alex Thomasson of Texas A&M University will report on the details of flight operations and sensing and analysis protocols, as well as lessons learned in the process of developing a comprehensive UAS remote-sensing effort of this sort. Dr. Randy Price of the Louisiana State University AgCenter will discuss the “nuts and bolts” of UAS including sensors, building and testing. Dr. James Robbins will provide recent FAA updates.

Head shot of Dr. Alex ThomassonDr. Alex Thomasson is a Professor of Biological & Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University, where he has taught and conducted research since 2005. His areas of expertise include precision agriculture and remote and proximal sensing, and he has recently been heavily involved in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in agricultural research.  Dr. Thomasson was previously a faculty member at Mississippi State University, where he served as agricultural research coordinator for the university’s Remote Sensing Technologies Center. Prior to that he served as a research engineer for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.  He holds a Ph.D. degree from University of Kentucky, an M.S. from Louisiana State University, and a B.S. from Texas Tech University, all in agricultural engineering.  Dr. Thomasson is a registered professional engineer and recently retired from a 22-year career as an engineering officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Presentation: In the summer of 2015 Texas A&M University’s agricultural research agency, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, embarked on a comprehensive program of remote sensing with UAVs at its 568-ha Brazos Bottom Research Farm.  This farm is made up of numerous fields on which various crops are grown in plots or complete fields.  Among the crops grown at the farm are cotton, corn, and sorghum.  After gaining FAA permission to fly at the farm, the research team used multiple fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs along with various sensors including multispectral, hyperspectral, and lidar to collect image data over all parts of the farm at least once per week.  This presentation will report on the details of flight operations and sensing and analysis protocols, and it will include a large number of lessons learned in the process of developing a comprehensive UAV remote-sensing effort of this sort.

Head shot of Dr. Randy PriceDr. Randy Price is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Agricultural Engineer with the Louisiana State University AgCenter.  He has numerous peer reviewed publications and patents that have resulted from his research career. Dr. Price is currently focused on application technology and precision application issues and will be discussing the “nuts and bolts” of Unmanned Aircraft Systems including sensors, building and testing.

Dr. James Robbins will wrap up with a recap on FAA updates.

Webinar 5: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Applications & Updates January 20, 2016 – 2pm CT 

Jason Barton, Sales Manager for Agribotix will briefly discuss the history of Agribotix as well as present information on applications Agribotix provides to farmers and agronomists. Victor Villegas of Oregon State University will then provide an overview of the interim Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) policy at Oregon State University (OSU). OSU will be introducing RPAS Logger, UAS policy, and future plans to Oregon State University faculty in January. Dr. Wayne Woldt of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln will follow up with FAA updates and an overview of the new FAA B4UFly app.

Webinar 4: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Mapping and “Proof of Concept”  December 16, 2015 – 2pm CT

This is the fourth in a year-long series of webinars; the topic of this hour-long webinar is Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Mapping and “Proof of Concept”. Mike Tully will discuss the importance of the fundamentals of aerial mapping . With the ease of using dones, it is easy to forget that the fundamentals are still the same. John Nowatzki will then discuss the ‘proof-of-concept’ for using UAS for various applied research projects in agriculture. When are UAS effective and when are then not effective. Details

Webinar 3: Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Dynamic Technologies & Record Keeping  November 18, 2015 – 2pm CT

NOTE Program change:
Due to scheduling conflicts, Jason Barton of Agribotix is being rescheduled to present at a later webinar.

The UAS in Agriculture Learning Network’s third webinar will feature Washington State University’s Dr. Lav Khot to discuss how we can look beyond small UAS to realize applications of UAS in crop production management given the rapid pace of change in this sector. He will also discuss how his team is using mid-size UAS technology in fresh market cherry crop loss management.  Then, Dr. James Robbins (University of Arkansas) will be presenting a session on record keeping as a critical part of legal requirements for flying unmanned aircraft.  All record keeping requirements are spelled out in the Certificate of Authorization, and include items such as having your FAA issued certificate at the location of flight operations, along with aircraft registration papers.  In addition, Jim will review pilot logs, aircraft logs, and monthly FAA reporting requirements.  Plan to attend the webinar and learn about new and dynamic applications of UAS in Agriculture and record keeping to remain legal.

“mention of products and companies by the UAS in Agriculture Learning Network does not serve as an endorsement nor approval at the exclusion of other products and companies.”

Webinar 2: Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Agriculture  September 17, 2015 – 2pm CT

This is the second in a year-long series of webinars; the topic of this hour-long webinar is ‘Applications of UAS in Agriculture’. The webinar will provide details on inventory management related applications of UAS acquired images. The discussion will also involve workflow for software needed to process UAS images. A third presentation will highlight a safety program in Colorado with emphasis on aerial applicators and UAS. A review of current topics of interest to UAS community in agriculture will also be part of the webinar.

Introductory Webinar: July 15, 2015 – 2pm CT

Join us for this introductory eXtension webinar, in which we will provide an overview of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in agriculture, along with a preview of future directions, and information on how you can get involved in this exciting area of opportunity for agriculture.


Webinar 7: March 16, 2016 – 2pm CT

Webinar 8:  April, 2016 – TBA

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