Hynes was speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal this week, in advance of the Drone Data X Conference, which takes place at Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co Mayo on Friday, 6 November. The event is being supported by Mayo Co Council and the Western Development Commission (WDC).

Mayo is seeking to raise its technology status with the arrival of the transatlantic fibre-optic cable in recent weeks, opening up new technology opportunities in the area. Peter Hynes claims that the large areas of sparse population without urban interference allows for the creation of ideal testing grounds for the further development of drones. Mayo Co Co is seeking the special drone testing designation status from the Irish Aviation Authority in the coming months.

1 million drones to be sold this Christmas

It is anticipated that close to 1 million drones will be sold around the world this Christmas. There is an opportunity to be part of this new industry and international experts lined up to speak at the conference will give an update on the technology and its use. Among these is Facebook’s drone expert Andy Cox. The event provides an opportunity to learn about the latest developments from companies in Silicon Valley and around the world.

Among the other speakers will be Ernest Earon, who runs a US company called Precision Hawk, with a lot of activity in the agricultural area. Earon and Precision Hawk are trying to address the immense pressure placed on development, food, health and infrastructure due to climate, increasing costs and overpopulation.

Precision Hawk recently signed a four-year partnership with Kansas State University to look at “Advancing an end-to-end solution for agricultural applications of unmanned aerial systems and remote sensing.”

Irish Aviation Authority

Other speakers include David Maloney, CTO & founder of Movidius, which has just announced $40 million in new funding to develop aerial robotics and drones, and Ralph James Director of Safety Regulation at the Irish Aviation Authority.

The high-flying speaker list also includes Chris Malloy, managing director of Malloy Aeronautics and designer/inventor of the Hoverbike, Jagmeet Lamba, CEO of Vetted, a drone vendor company and Jay Bregman, CEO of Verifly, which works with pilots, manufacturers, regulators, insurers and privacy advocates to develop built-in compliance technology.

Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, Chief of Staff of Irish Defence Forces, and Philippe Duvivier of Parrot, one of Europe's leading drones manufacturers, will also take part, as well as Gearoid O'Briain of iFly Technologies, Ireland’s largest and leading drone educator.

If you have an interest in drones and their use in agriculture, the Drone Data X Conference takes place at Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co Mayo on Friday next 6 November 2015. Tickets are available online.