An Iowa City-based agritech start-up has become the state’s first company approved to spray agrichemicals from aerial drones.
Rantizo, which develops and sells enhancements to existing aircraft, this week received licensing and certification for aerial pesticide application from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
The approval was the last hurdle the company needed for legal authorization, following two certifications it obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration in May.
“Our drone technology had been ready for a few months, we just needed the regulatory landscape to get sorted out,” said Rantizo CEO Michael Ott in a news release Thursday. “Building the technology is the easy part.”
Rantizo representatives said in April the drones can supplement traditional sprayer vehicles by using automation to fly back and forth over smaller, targeted areas, mapped out in advance by the farmer.
Ott said in the release the drones first will be used to applying fungicide in corn and spreading cover crop seeds to wet areas.
The company made its first drone sale in April and has started gaining interest from growers and ag retailers across the country, its release said.
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