Aerial photos have been a farm staple for many years; either you have one, your parents have one or you know a neighbor who has one! Of course, aerial photos are beautiful to look at, but why do they really retain their popularity? I would argue that they are a visual way to document change – at least that is their role in my family’s story. I can remember seeing an aerial photo in my grandparent’s home and I know that my husband’s family had the same tradition.
For many years, our parents have had aerial photos of the farmyard that we grew up in hanging in the entryway of the house. These photos document the transition from the yard that they bought to the yard that they designed. They reflect physical changes, but they also represent changes in the operation that run deeper than those that you can see at first glance.
Today, having aerial photos is easier than ever before; drone technology makes it possible to take aerial photos every year – or even every season! No longer do farmers depend on external companies to provide these photos every year or two. Instead, we are now in charge of our own aerial imagery, and therefore our own photographic progress monitoring.
One of the most important resolutions that any farm family can make is to stay current and to keep making improvements to their operation. Sometimes these changes are easy to see, like taking down old buildings or putting up new ones, and sometimes they can't be captured by a birds-eye view. Nonetheless, changes, and improvements, are important to keep an operation efficient and sustainable (economically, environmentally and socially). Aerial photos serve as a visual reminder that change is necessary, even though it is not always easy, and they can provide us with the motivation that we need for the next big change.