AMES, Iowa - Ross Lilienthal, a junior in agricultural studies, received the 2013 Charles R. and Margo S. Woods scholarship, awarded through the Iowa State University Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative.
The $1,500 scholarship was awarded to Lilienthal based on his interest and aptitude for entrepreneurship as well as his involvement in the initiative’s programs.
Lilienthal grew up on a crop farm that included a hog operation near Durant, Iowa. The hot summer days he spent scouting fields motivated him to look for more efficient scouting methods. Through his research, Lilienthal discovered UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) from Volt Aerial Robotics.
Using the technology, Lilienthal created his own crop scouting company, Birds-Eye Imagery. The goal of the business is to provide premier crop scouting services through the use of photography and ground surveillance. The photos document crops at a specific growth stage, giving growers another source of data for management decisions.
By the summer of 2014, Lilienthal plans to contract 4,000 acres and sell 10 UAVs. By 2015, he hopes to expand his business to include four part-time employees, three standard UAVs and two fixed-wing UAVs.
Lilienthal plans to use the Charles R. and Margo S. Woods Scholarship to pay off his startup costs, improve his UAV quadcopters and invest in a camera.
The Charles R. and Margo S. Woods Agricultural Entrepreneurship Scholarship supports Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate students interested in expanding their knowledge and experience in the creation or development of new businesses.