Local farmers are one step closer to being able to safely utilise new technology on-farm after participating in 'Drone Essentials Training' on Wednesday.
Held at Inverell's Sporting Complex, the free training was offered to NSW Farmers members in the region interested in obtaining a sub two-kilogram drone licence through Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
TAFE instructor Ben Watts was on-ground, teaching two national aviation units to give participants the basic knowledge to safely operate drones and understand necessary airspace regulations.
"Off the back of this practical training, the participants will be able to apply for their licence through CASA, which is also free to them," he said.
Drones were buzzing around the complex, even a number of retired Inverell farmers attended and were blown away by the potential uses of drones on-farm.
NSW Farmers northern regional services manager Michael Collins said many members had previously shown an interest in the new technology.
For two years now, NSW Farmers has been offering the popular training to members across the entire state and have received positive feedback.
"This training gives them the opportunity to experience flying a drone, and to obtain their licence. We offer this event in locations where most training doesn't occur and we'll probably keep offering it for another 12 months or so," he said.
Drones can be used to assist farmers with mustering, checking water points, fence lines, scaring pesky birds off crops, feral animal control, invasive weed investigation and identification and crop mapping.
Mr Collins said around 90 per cent of participants had not touched, or had prior experience, with drone technology before the training events.
"The options are endless with drones, it cuts down hours and it's a safer option too, especially in hilly country like around here. Drones are a growing tool to use on-farm, some think it's just a toy," he said.
A $500 SafeWork rebate is currently being offered to farmers who purchase a drone on the eligibility list for their business.
As a part-time TAFE teacher who has conducted many of the Drones Essentials Training, Mr Watts said participants often become ambassadors for the tech.
"This training is all about getting participants up to an industry best practise standard and then they really become our ambassadors and showcase to friends and family how they can happily and safely fly drones and utilise them," he said.
To find out more, head to the NSW Farmers website.