March 23, 2010 NAAA e-Newsletter

This week's top stories:
NAAA Promotes the Industry’s Drift Mitigation Measures to State & Federal Regulators
The Aurora Cooperative Acquires Four Nebraska Aerial Application Businesses
Aerial Application Efforts Rescue Nebraska River From Flooding

...and more.

NAAA Promotes the Industry’s Drift Mitigation Measures to State & Federal Regulators
NAAA is constantly working to make sure that the ag aviation industry’s strides in safety and efficiency are recognized in the pesticide regulation and pesticide user communities. On March 9, NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore and NAAREF President Randy Hale gave a presentation at the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) annual meeting. Their presentation to the group of state pest control officials, as well as representatives from the EPA, detailed the aerial application industry’s educational programs, drift mitigation practices, technological advancements and environmental stewardship efforts.

Moore underscored that the aerial application industry continues to make significant progress when it comes to mitigating drift incidents. He described the industry’s education and safety initiatives, such as PAASS (Professional Aerial Applicators Support System) and Operation S.A.F.E., and explained how those programs improve upon the professionalism of the aerial application industry and promote environmental stewardship. Hale discussed the technological developments being made through the USDA-ARS facility in College Station, Texas. He also spoke on how private research enables equipment and educational content material for aerial application to be more environmentally friendly, precise and efficacious. He gave examples of how precision agriculture is put to use and described the industry’s drift mitigation technologies that are constantly developing and improving. Their presentation emphasized that a combination of education and technology has served to significantly quell drift claims over the past decade.

As more and more restrictive regulatory proposals continue to be proposed, it is important that all in our industry remain vigilant in promoting and observing the safe and efficient practices that mitigate drift and keep burdensome regulations at bay.

The Aurora Cooperative Acquires Four Nebraska Aerial Application Businesses
The Aurora Cooperative of Aurora, Neb., has added four more aerial application businesses to its growing portfolio. The newly acquired operations include Boardman Aerial Spraying (Henderson, Neb.), Pioneer Aerial Applicators (Minden, Neb.), Buffalo Air Services (Kearney, Neb.) and Traudt Aerial Service (Aurora, Neb.), the company announced on March 2.

The acquisitions along with the cooperative’s owned aerial businesses, Cornhusker Ag Aviation in Grant, Neb., and FFC in Bertrand, Neb., create one of the largest agricultural aerial application businesses in the United States. Owners of the acquired companies, including NAAA members Rick and Mary Boardman and Brent and Mary Stewart (Pioneer Aerial Spraying), will continue in management roles within the newly created ag aviation division of the Aurora Cooperative.

“Our customers are demanding contemporary solutions to deliver crop protection products in a timely manner,” George Hohwieler, Auora’s president and CEO, said. “The formation of the ag aviation division, with its assets and management team, will be a significant enhancement to our existing agronomy business and create a unique business model in the industry.”

The Aurora Cooperative serves agronomy patrons in Nebraska and surrounding states in matters related to grain, agronomy, feed and energy.

Aerial Application Efforts Rescue Nebraska River From Flooding
A vivid example of the valuable services the agricultural aviation industry provides society was on display last month when a massive aerial ice-dusting operation organized and coordinated by NAAA member Jared Storm helped the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) mitigate potentially major flooding in northeastern Nebraska.

State officials in Nebraska took the uncommon step of dropping 77 tons of coal ash along stretches of the Platte River in a move intended to prevent flooding caused by ice jams by slowly thawing the ice. Without the dusting a rapid thaw could occur, causing large chunks of ice to form dams that force water onto land. Concerns of flooding abound throughout the upper Midwest as the weather warms and snow-locked waterways thaw. For instance, last week flood damage ravaged several communities in North Dakota when the Red River overflowed.

Storm Flying Service, of Wahoo, Neb., was awarded the state contract for applying the coal ash along the Platte River. Operator Jared Storm organized the operation, which included hiring a pilot, coordinating the ground/loading activities and working with NEMA officials. NAAA member Brian Wilcox, of Wilcox Flying Service, Tilden, Neb., assisted Storm in the coordination efforts. A pilot Storm hired from Arkansas spread the coal ash across nine sites along the Platte River February 18 and 19. On March 6, the AP reported that the ice-dusting efforts appeared to be working.

Although some residents voiced concerns about the environmental impact of the ice-dusting operation, the contaminants in the coal ash occur at levels far below federal water quality standards. “If you weigh what we could be saving in terms of … damage from a flood, it outweighs environmental concerns—based on the science,” Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Director Mike Linder told the Omaha World-Herald.

The coal ash came from a Nebraska Public Power District coal plant that generates electricity near Hallam, Neb., about 15 miles south of Lincoln. The ash used in Nebraska is bottom ash, not fly ash, which has 10 percent of the heavy metals found in fly ash, the World-Herald reported.

This is the fourth time since 1979 that the Platte River has been dusted. The last time, in 2001, the river didn’t flood. Click here to read more and watch video footage of the ice-dusting operation in action.

Environmental Respect Awards: Enter by April 30
The Environmental Respect Awards are the premier awards in ag retail stewardship. The awards serve to recognize and promote environmental stewardship from farm retailers in the U.S. and around the world. Since 1990, more than 5,000 U.S. retailers have entered the Environmental Respect Awards and shared their stewardship initiatives.

The objectives are to honor fertilizer/ag chemical retailers who are preserving and protecting the environment by operating their businesses in an environmentally sound manner, to the benefit of their customers, employees and community. The program aims to provide information on the excellence of these facilities in such a way that other retailers will be encouraged to improve their operation and involve themselves in leadership activities, and share good news about environmentally responsible agriculture around the world.

To enter, you must be a crop input supplier or distributor, or involved in vegetation management in one of the specified regions where the Environmental Respect Awards effort is being conducted. Your business must be a customer of DuPont Crop Protection in that area.

Recognition is given to all who enter and there are several intermediary prizes. A top award is given to the business judged to be best out of regional winners and then determined to be the “National Winner.” The National Winner receives an all-expense paid trip for two company representatives to be honored on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The National Winner also has the opportunity to visit one of the winning facilities in another country as an “Ambassador of Respect.”
To enter the contest or to find out more about this fantastic program, visit the Environmental Respect Awards Web site at

Again, the deadline for entry is April 30, so apply today!

BASF Corporation Increases Support of Operation S.A.F.E.
By Offering New Financial Incentives to 2010 NAAA Members

Suppose you haven’t renewed your NAAA membership for 2010 yet, or it’s been a while since you’ve participated in an Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In. We can think of up to 225 reasons why aerial application operators and pilots should do both this year. NAAA and BASF, a longtime sponsor of Operation S.A.F.E., are pleased to announce an innovative new program that rewards aerial applicators who participate in Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In clinics with financial support that can be used towards membership in NAAA or for new spray equipment.

This offer from BASF runs through Sept. 30, 2010. The goals of the program are to encourage aerial applicators to: 1) attend an Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In; 2) provide an incentive to equip eligible aircraft with new nozzles and/or tips; and 3) promote aerial application optimization, industry stewardship and membership in NAAA.

It’s a win-win all the way around. “This program is certain to enhance professionalism in the aerial application industry whether it directs aerial applicators to join NAAA and access the library of education and communication stewardship services offered by the Association or equip their aircraft with new equipment to ensure precise applications. NAAA appreciates BASF for making this incentive program available,” NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore said.

Complete details are available here, but in essence aerial application operators can earn a $225 incentive to be used to help subsidize either 2010 NAAA operator membership dues or up to $225 of the cost of purchasing new nozzles and/or tips for each eligible aircraft that participates in an Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In within the program period. Operators may also be reimbursed $170 for NAAA pilot membership dues in lieu of reimbursement for new nozzles and/or tips.

This program is available to NAAA members who participate in an Operation S.A.F.E. clinic by Sept. 30. Eligible equipment purchases must occur within the program period. NAAA will provide verification of NAAA membership and Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In participation on its Web site once the Association receives proof of participation by the fly-in organizer or the S.A.F.E. Analyst who conducted the clinic. Remember that if the aircraft is not flown by the operator member, the pilot flying the aircraft at the clinic must be an NAAA pilot member to be verified on the Web site.

For more information on BASF’s NAAA membership/equipment incentive program, click here. The last page of the PDF contains a reimbursement request form.

Operation S.A.F.E. was designed to demonstrate that agricultural aviators recognize their responsibility to ensure precise agricultural chemical application. Operation S.A.F.E. clinics give operators and pilots the opportunity to test equipment with a trained analyst to help interpret the information and to recommend changes to improve performance. In addition, participating applicators agree to submit voluntarily to an inspection of their aircraft and recognize the importance of using safe operating procedures.

“Operation S.A.F.E. fly-ins are a great opportunity for applicators and one of the best means of evaluating spray patterns, droplet size and application precision,” said Tony Goede, Plant Health Coordinator for BASF and recently certified Operation S.A.F.E. Analyst. “BASF also is working hard to increase participation and NAAA membership, for the good of everyone in the industry.”

NAAA encourages every operator and pilot to participate in an Operation S.A.F.E. clinic annually.

Are You Willing to Mentor?
Mentoring has been on the collective minds of NAAA’s leaders a great deal lately. NAAA’s Long Range Planning Committee discussed the subject at length at last month’s board meeting and would like members to step forward to help strengthen NAAA’s mentoring efforts. Any level of mentoring support would be helpful, whether that means receiving a phone call to talk about a career in ag aviation, offering a ride or allowing someone to spend a day at an operator’s business.

If you are willing to invest a little of your time when folks are looking for direction, please let us know. NAAA receives frequent inquiries from people interested in becoming ag pilots and operators. NAAA will not publish your contact information as a dedicated mentor, but will direct inquiries to you when someone in your geographic area contacts us. A few moments dialogue with an aspiring pilot could make all the difference for their future and ours. Contact Jay Calleja at the NAAA office at 202-546-5722 or if you are willing to serve as a mentoring resource.

Deadline Approaching for New Plastic Pilot Certificates
All paper FAA pilot certificates will no longer be valid after March 31! If you haven’t applied for the new plastic certificate, do it today. Be sure to allow sufficient time to order and receive yours before the due date. According to a rule change made in February 2008, all pilot certificates must be upgraded to the counterfeit-resistant plastic style by March 31 of this year. If you have not done so by that date, there is no requirement to take a checkride or exam but you must wait until you receive the new certificate to exercise your piloting privileges.

Click here for information on the requirement, and then follow the links at the bottom of that page to be issued the new certificate. The cost for issuing the new certificate is $2. However, if your old certificate still has the pilot’s social security number as the license number, it can be removed and the plastic certificate issued at no charge. This change was allowed to help in the prevention of identity theft.

Keep in mind that since these certificates do not have photo identification, another form of government issued photo-identification is required to be carried in addition to the pilot certificate.

The February 2008 rule change requires that non-pilot paper certificates, like those issued to ground instructors, flight engineers and mechanics, will expire on March 31, 2013. This change was also responsible for requiring those selling or transferring ownership of a U.S.-registered aircraft to return the aircraft registration to the FAA within 21 days. It also required applicants for a new registration to type or print their name on the application in addition to providing a signature.

Think Ag Planes Are Cool? The Science Channel Agrees
DVR alert! Thrush Aircraft Inc. will be featured on the Science Channel show “How It’s Made” April 2, at 9:30 p.m. ET. While the focus is on the Albany, Ga., ag aircraft manufacturer, it should be good exposure for the industry as a whole. If you miss the April 2 broadcast, the episode will be rebroadcast several times. Click here to check dates and times of future broadcasts. Look for episode 2, season 7, of “How It’s Made.”

Calendar of Events

March 2010

Operation S.A.F.E. Clinic
Walnut Ridge, Ark.

Analyst: Dennis Gardisser, 501-676-1762
Steve Cusson, 870-892-7242

Georgia AAA Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In

Sylvania, Ga.
Analyst: Paul Sumner, 229-386-3442

30 – 31
Northern Arkansas Operation S.A.F.E. Clinic (DRY)

Corning, Ark.
Analyst: Dennis Gardisser, 501-676-1762
Matt Woolard, 870-857-3839

30 – April 2
California AAA Operation S.A.F.E- Rice Research Board/Dow/Valent

Maxwell, Calif.
Analyst: Dick Stoltz, 559-323-6360
Terry Gage, 916-645-9747

April 2010

1 – 2
Northern Arkansas Operation S.A.F.E. Clinic (Liquid)

Corning, Ark.
Analyst: Dennis Gardisser, 501-676-1762
Matt Woolard, 870-857-3839

Georgia AAA Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In

Tifton, Ga.
Analyst: Paul Sumner, 229-386-3442

Kansas AAA Operation S.A.F.E. Clinic

Coffey County Airport
Burlington, Kan.
Analyst: Bob Wolf, 785-770-7027
Bill Warner, 620-332-3748

6 – 9
Central Arkansas Operation S.A.F.E. Clinic

Stuttgart, Ark.
Analyst: Dennis Gardisser, 501-676-1762
Donald Dierks, 870-673-1821

13 – 16
Southern Arkansas Operation S.A.F.E. Clinic

McGehee, Ark.
Analyst: Dennis Gardisser, 501-676-1762
Contact: David Glosup, Alan Buford, David Glover or Matt Rial

Texas District Meeting

PAASS 1 – 5 p.m.
Plaines Cotton Cooperative Association
Lubbock, Texas
Susan Bennett, 512-476-4405

*** This document is intended for NAAA members only. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part of this document that they first seek the permission of the Association. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership. Items in this newsletter are not the result of paid advertising and are only meant to highlight newsworthy developments. No endorsement by NAAA is intended or implied. ***