PENDLETON, Ore., May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- SOAR Oregon, a non-profit organization focused on the development of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry in Oregon, is pleased to announce a grant award to the City of Pendleton for the establishment of a FutureFarm™ project at the Pendleton, Oregon UAS Test Range.
The Oregon UAS FutureFarm™ is a 'real world' proving ground designed to help Digital Agriculture Pioneers accelerate product development, reduce cycles, and expand market growth.
Once established in June, it will be the only digital agriculture proving ground of its caliber in the United States. Developers of agriculture-focused unmanned robotics and data systems will find the Oregon UAS FutureFarm™ has a broad spectrum of high value and commodity crops, multiple layers of remote sensing for benchmarking, as well as access to the agricultural knowledge base they need to test, validate and innovate their next generation of interconnected unmanned and automated agricultural systems.
The Oregon UAS FutureFarm™ features a network of "research friendly" farmers growing a large variety of irrigated and dry-land crops in both traditional and modern farming infrastructures. Strategic partners include: City of Pendleton, Digital Harvest, SOAR Oregon, Blue Mountain Community College, Oregon State University and USDA Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center.
SOAR Oregon Executive Director Chuck Allen said, "We believe that the Oregon UAS FutureFarm™ fills a clearly defined market niche for UAS platform and payload developers who are working on the next generation of technologies for precision agriculture. We are especially pleased that this project is taking place at one of Oregon's FAA-designated UAS Test Ranges."
Young Kim, CEO of Digital Harvest, said, "We are pleased to be supporting the Oregon UAS FutureFarm™ as both a partner and user. The fact that the Test Range includes high value tree fruit orchards, premium wine grape vineyards, hundreds of automated irrigated plots, and hundreds of thousands of acres of dry land farms makes it a unique and special zone."
Jeff Lorton, Oregon UAS FutureFarm™ project manager: "The Oregon UAS FutureFarm is open to UAS developers, sensor makers, robotics companies, universities and any others who are looking for a real world digital agriculture proving ground that is supported by a collaborative innovation focused community."
Pendleton Mayor Phil Houk signed the agreement with John Stevens and Mike Short from SOAR in attendance. Steve Chrisman, Pendleton Director of Economic Development, commented, "The FutureFarm™ represents what we'd hoped the Pendleton UAS Range could become – not just an environment for the development of technology, but the place where real-world questions could be solved with unmanned aircraft. We are excited about the potential of this project to develop solutions which benefit growers across the Northwest."
For information about SOAR Oregon and SOAR's grants program, please visit soaroregon.com.
SOAR Oregon (SOAR), is a 501(c)(6) non-profit established to help make Oregon a leader in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry.
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SOURCE SOAR Oregon