Drones put to good use.
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Jeff Lorton says drone technology is the next big thing in agriculture, and he’s determined to make sure it lands in Yamhill County, the center of Oregon’s world-class wine industry.

Lorton is the county’s part-time economic development manager. He’s organized a Dec. 9 “Precision Farming Forum” to introduce the concept to farmers, vineyard operators and nursery managers.

In farming, the potential uses of drones include flying over nurseries to do inventory and identifying areas of plant damage, disease or irrigation problems. Larger drones could carry payloads of pesticides or fertilizer, an application now being tested at vineyards in California’s Napa Valley, the agricultural publication Capital Press reported.

“It’s a big game changer in agriculture,” Lorton said. “The Holy Grail of it is crop diagnostics.”