Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2024: $97,871.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2027
Grant Recipient: University of Arizona
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Edward Franklin
University of Arizona


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The purpose of this project is to provide drone technology
outreach education to cooperative extension professionals in the
State of Arizona with a goal of CE  to be able to share this
information with their clients including agriculture producers.
Currently, there is a demand to fill 100,000 drone pilot
positions by 2025 (Posea, 2022). Pilots are needed in all
industries including agriculture, energy, and the environment.
Drone use in agriculture includes plant health protection, pest
control, livestock management, soil analysis, and aerial survey.
Drones are used in the energy industry to survey solar
photovoltaic (PV) systems and inspect wind turbine systems. In
2023, we conducted seven on-site drone workshops to tribal
extension centers and community Chapter houses as part of a
Native American Agriculture Fund Grant. Our audiences included
both adults and youth. The response was positive. Workshop
presentation topics will include types of drones, components of
drone operating systems, getting started with drones, drone pilot
safety and responsibilities, recreation versus commercial drone
operations, registering a drone with Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA), preparing for The Recreational UAS Safety
Test (TRUST) exam, and preparation for the Part 107 Commercial
Pilot Exam. We will use a combination of methods to present and
share our information. We will schedule online webinars with
PowerPoint presentations, schedule a minimum of eight
face-to-face demonstration day-long workshops at multiple county
offices for professionals to view materials, observe flying
demonstrations, create a take-home a write-in workbook, and
provide opportunities for our workshop participants to gain
hands-on experience flying a mapping drone, and using a
commercial software application to create a mapping mission for
flying a drone during the first two years of our project. We will
include flying demonstrations from experienced professional drone
pilots certified to operate larger multi-copter drones used in
the spray applications in fields.

Project objectives from proposal:

One of our objectives is to measure a change in program
participant knowledge, attitude, and skills (KAS) about drone
technology. What do our extension and NRCS personnel know about
drones? How do our program participants feel (attitude) about
drones? What percentage of our program participants actively use
drones? We will survey participants pre-workshop instruction and
again at post-workshop instruction using a survey on Qualtrics.
We want to understand what do our participants know about drones,
what their attitude is toward drones, and determine their level
of skill working with drones. Can our effort produce a measurable
change in the way our program participants perceive drone
technology? How likely are program participants to adopt drone
technology for instruction and demonstration at their community
sites? Specfically, our program objectives are:

  • To engage Cooperative Extension agents interested in
    precision technology to agriculture producers.
  • To provide hands-on opportunities for participating workshop
    attendees to fly drones with remote controls under guidance of
    commercial drone pilot
  • To create a measurable change in program particpant knowlege
    of drones. This would be measured using pre-and post-workshop
  • To create a measureable change in program participant
    attitude about drones.
  • To create a measureable change in program participant skill
    set of drone opration. 
  • To conduct a minimum of eight face-to-face workshops at
    multiple locations throughout Arizona. 

To assist with a minimum of six county offices in drone system
adoption and use in their local programs for 4-H, or producer

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.