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In 2015, COUNTRY was one of the first crop insurers to receive a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exemption to test drones.
posted in: Heritage
by Valerie Hawkins

How drones continue to help farmers

Drones are certainly not new to the insurance industry. However, the way we use them to meet farmers’ needs continues to evolve. 

I chatted with Crop Claims Specialist, John Howell, to learn more about the current state of drones at COUNTRY. Here’s what he had to say:

How do drones help our farm clients today?

Our claims reps used to walk clients’ fields, assessing damage on foot. You can imagine how a high-flying drone would be more efficient and effective! We can quickly scout larger areas in all field conditions with
more detail.

Yes, we use drones to assess weather damage and flooding. But drones can also help spot debris from high winds or tornadoes which could damage machinery if not found prior to harvest. I’ve also used the drone to help farmers locate escaped livestock.

How have drones helped our clients with replant claims recently?

With the wet field conditions this Spring, drones helped show our clients the extent of the flooding in their fields. The overhead images let our clients know the exact areas to replant. This has also helped us adjust the replant claims to be as accurate as possible. Not to mention, scouting the fields from overhead helps avoid further damage to the crops in these muddy conditions.

Tell me about a recent drone flight.

During a recent drone flight, a client couldn’t understand why his field was holding water. I flew the drone to the back side of the field, about a half mile away from where we stood, and I was able to locate a broken tile in a waterway. It would have been difficult to find this problem by walking or driving across the field. 

How do clients react when you fly the drone with them?

Farm clients love to watch the live video as we fly over their fields. It gives them a sense of security to know we scouted the entire area, and we leave our clients with a better understanding of their specific concerns. That peace of mind is priceless.

To learn more about how we’ve been helping farmers since 1925, visit

Farm insurance policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, Bloomington, IL.

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