The Federal Aviation Administration next month is expected to issue preliminary guidelines on the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems or as they are better known, drones.
For the most part, drones are currently banned in the U.S., while other countries have more open use policy. And it could take months, even years before the FAA finalizes its rules.
That's a problem for many in American agriculture who say the U.S. already is failing to keep up with other nations in drone use that could provide billions of dollars in economic growth.
"We're behind the eight ball when it comes to places like Japan and Australia, which have been using drones in agriculture since the 1980s," said R.J. Karney, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau. "There's an urgency to get the ball moving on this," he said.
Karney explained that as other countries develop drones, American farmers are missing out on using technology that could help produce more food.
"It's not only the potential users but the developers who are having to play catch up," Karney said.
Tami Griffin, managing director of Aon Risk Solutions' food system and agribusiness practice, said the U.S. is missing out on a big opportunity to help farmers.
"Drones have great potential for mapping and assessing the health of crops and livestock so that producers can know how quickly they need to devote attention to those areas," she said.