Although I have not heard of any reported cases in Alabama, Florida, or Georgia yet, one of the newest issues in agriculture is the use of drones by farmers, consultants, and ag businesses to monitor and scout crops. Legally, the issue is one surrounding property rights and any potential government oversight.
If someone is flying a drone over your own property, what can you do? Is that person committing a trespass or the tort of nuisance? While there have been questions posed along the lines of “if someone flies a drone over my property to spy on me, can I shoot it down?”,that is certainly not the best course of action.
This is even more true in a commercial setting as commercial use of drones will soon become regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA has not released any regulations on the issue yet, but if the FAA takes the position that drones are aircraft, shooting a drone down could be treated the same as shooting a plane out of the sky.
At this time, there are no definitive guidelines to follow in the instance of someone flying a drone over another’s property, but in using drones for monitoring crops’ progress and other uses over one’s own property, there is no doubt that there are many beneficial uses of the new technology and that more regulatory, statutory, and case law will be coming out over the next few years regarding drones.