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College's drones to survey farmland in Roseau County

ROSEAU - Small unmanned aircraft will soon be taking to the skies over select areas in Roseau County, according to Northland Community & Technical College.

The aircraft would be flown by students and staff from the college, which has an unmanned aircraft system program at its Thief River Falls campus. It has a satellite office in Roseau and second campus in East Grand Forks.

The college announced Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration approved its application for a certificate of authorization and offered more details Friday.

“We still have a lot of coordination that we will continue working through to make sure the community understands exactly what we will be doing when flying the UAS,” Jon Beck, manager of the school’s UAS program, said in a news release.

The certificate of authorization gives NCTC permission to fly drones over agricultural areas in Roseau County, but the college must receive approval from landowners, fly lower than 500 feet and fly within sight of the operator.

Images collected by the drone will be used by the college and landowners for educational purposes such as determining crop health and pest detection, NCTC said.

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