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Rantizo receives FAA approval for drone spraying

Rantizo has received approval by the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct spraying applications via drone in agricultural fields.

Rantizo, based in Iowa City, has developed a drone spraying platform that precisely applies inputs where and when they‘re needed. Rantizo has received approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct spraying applications via drone in agricultural fields, which makes Rantizo the first and so far only company in the state with such approval.

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Agrichemicals are delivered precisely where they are needed using an electrostatic sprayer mounted on a drone. Drones are loaded with cartridges only containing the active chemical ingredient.  - Photo: Rantizo
Agrichemicals are delivered precisely where they are needed using an electrostatic sprayer mounted on a drone. Drones are loaded with cartridges only containing the active chemical ingredient. - Photo: Rantizo

According to Rantizo CEO, Michael Ott, their drone technology had been ready for a few months. “We just needed the regulatory landscape to get sorted out. Building the technology is the easy part.” Rantizo’s first approved applications were of a corn fungicide and spreading cover crop seeds.

Less chemicals

“Our drone technology offers new improvements to agricultural crop applications such as increased field access, reduced headcount and ability to spot apply,” says. “In other words, we can get in the fields to treat pests faster, with less people and in more effective ways that require less chemicals.”

Rantizo claims it has crossed uncharted territory to reach the milestone of its first approved applications via drone. In May, the company received its Part 107 and Part 137 certifications from the FAA, which included section 44807 waivers to operate a drone for agricultural application of materials. The last step was receiving licensure for pesticide application from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Learning curve

“As the first company in the state to request this for drone operation there was inherently a learning curve involved, but we are thankful to IDALS for working with us on this and ultimately allowing us to pave a new path necessary for improved agricultural practices. Next we will work with other states to achieve the same,” said Craig Perry, Rantizo’s Director of Operations.

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