AUSTIN, Texas — Arizona’s attorney general on Wednesday ordered that farmers who use unmanned aerial vehicles for agricultural delivery may be given the right of first refusal.
The rule was part of a new law signed by Gov.
Jan Brewer, a Republican, that takes effect on March 1 that allows agricultural and horticultural growers to use the devices.
Farmers could still opt out if they don’t want to receive the drones.
The state allows for drone deliveries by a variety of commercial and private companies, including the UAV-based company Avantgarde, and uses a drone to deliver packages.
The law gives the attorney general the power to regulate the use of drones and other similar technologies, said Michael McCaffrey, Brewer’s deputy chief of staff.
Farmers may have been able to use a drone commercially as long as it was used for a legitimate purpose, he said.
The law will require that drone operators undergo training and undergo annual audits to ensure their operations are legal.
The move was a response to an Associated Press story in late April that reported that Arizona had passed a bill requiring farmers to obtain a permit before using drones.
Arizona’s agriculture commissioner, Chris Crane, said the bill was intended to protect farmers from frivolous lawsuits and was not meant to infringe on their rights to privacy.
The AP reported that a local pilot had been killed in an accident when a drone crashed into his plane.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture and Food and the state Agriculture Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.