Developers eager to make a business out of the unmanned aerial vehicles known as drones are a step closer to that goal.

Until now, it's been extremely difficult to test drones for business applications.

But on Monday, the federal government designated drone test sites in several states, including three test ranges in Oregon: in Pendleton, Tillamook and on the Warm Springs reservation.

Ryan Jenson, who heads a Portland company that builds drones to help farmers manage water, fertilizers and pesticides, says the new ranges will be what he terms a "huge help." Close at hand and accessible to everyone, they will help accelerate development of new UAV's in the U.S.

Still, since drones' commercial use is still not legal, the real impact on the industry is hard to gauge.