NAAA 2012: The Year in Review
’Tis the season to reflect on another year gone by. Amid the daily grind it’s easy to overlook the many ways NAAA serves as the aerial application industry’s wingman, but behind the scenes we’re here working for you—every day. Here are some of the ways we have helped our members and the industry over the past 12 months.
- In advance of the March 1 enforcement date for the new NPDES pesticide general permits, NAAA publishes a series of guidance documents, available on the website, to aid aerial applicators in complying with the permits. In addition to a comprehensive overview of the NPDES permit and an analysis of the state permits, NAAA’s NPDES Toolkit features a checklist of compliance activities, a “model contract” for reference when preparing contract negotiations with clients and a definition of “waters of the U.S.” chart.
- NAAA’s hard efforts are rewarded when the long-awaited FAA Reauthorization Bill was enacted. The bill includes a provision the Association actively pushed, directing the FAA Administrator to conduct a feasibility study on the development of an online public resource that would list the location and height of low-altitude aviation obstructions, such as guy-wire and free-standing towers. NAAA has been following the FAA’s progress on this study all year and has been told it will be complete by February 2013.
- NAAA’s sister organization, the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation (NAAREF), mails complimentary copies of a new training video, “First Response: Responding to a Pesticide-Related Aircraft Accident,” to all FAR Part 137 member and non-member operators. This potentially life-saving DVD is tailor-made for operators and ag pilots to educate emergency first responders about what to expect if they are called to an agricultural aircraft accident.
- NAAA releases the full results of two landmark new surveys of Part 137 operators and ag pilots exclusively to members through the NAAA website. The results of the 2012 NAAA Aerial Application Industry Surveys are documented in the official operator and pilot reports, available in the News & Publications section. Complimentary copies are subsequently mailed to all NAAA members by mid-May. The data from the survey has helped in the past to preserve registrations of crop protection products for aerial use and will provide information to association leaders on how to best develop policies and plans for the industry’s future.
- The 2012 NAAA Membership Directory mails to all members. At 228 pages, the new directory is even bigger than 2011’s 220-page volume, an indication of NAAA’s continued membership growth. As always, it is loaded with operator and pilot contacts, as well as contact information for the premier suppliers of parts and services to the industry.
- After a great deal of effort on the Association’s part, NAAA informs members that language endorsing aerial application research was included in a House committee report on agriculture spending for the USDA for Federal Fiscal Year 2013. This comes on the heels of similar language in a Senate version of the spending bill a month earlier. Aerial application’s inclusion in the House report is no small feat, as it was only one of just over a dozen research areas mentioned in the report language. The favorable committee language sends a strong message to the USDA to continue to sustain appropriate funding for aerial application research at a time when the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has been hit with steep budget cuts. Over the last 11 years NAAA has been successful in obtaining $5.8 million in additional federal spending for aerial application research.
- NAAA releases its newly revised media relations kit exclusively to members in the News & Publications section of the website. The new NAAA Media Relations Kit provides guidance on how to effectively communicate aerial application’s message to public officials, the media and the general public, and contains talking points, facts sheets and sample press releases on the importance of aerial application; environmental safety, aviation safety and security of the aerial application industry; as well as towers and other obstructions to low-level aviation. New and renewing members will receive a handy print edition of the Media Relations Kit when they join NAAA for the 2013 membership year.
- With remodeling complete, NAAA officially moves its headquarters to 1440 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, on Aug. 24. The new state-of-the-art office will enable NAAA to continue expanding government relations, communications and educational services on behalf of the aerial application industry. The Old Town office is just a few blocks away from the nearest Washington Metro System (King Street Station) and significantly closer to EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs offices and other federal agencies the Association lobbies compared to NAAA’s former Washington, D.C., office.
- While the busy season for many aerial applicators winds down at this time of year, Labor Day signals the start of the busiest time of the year for NAAA. Preparations for the 46th Annual NAAA Convention & Exposition ramp up in September along with planning for NAAA’s fall board meeting.
- The 15th season of NAAREF’s Professional Aerial Applicators’ Support System (PAASS) hits the stage with its 15th original curriculum. The aviation safety module focuses on recovering from stall/spins and turning in wind gradients; the drift reduction module explains utilizing tools analyzing the effect aircraft speed and nozzle pressure have on droplets’ physical properties. The program has been a remarkable success since it first hit the stage in 1998. Since that time aerial drift incidents have decreased 26 percent; ag aviation accidents have decreased 20.63 percent; state pesticide agencies offer renewal of pesticide licenses based on PAASS participation; and insurance companies offer potential premium discounts for PAASS participation. The PAASS Program reached 1,959 attendees during the 2011–2012 season and 25,315 total attendees during its first 14 years.
- NAAREF releases a new video that shows what to expect at an Operation S.A.F.E. calibration clinic. In addition to serving as a guide for planning and participating in an Operation S.A.F.E. fly-in, the video can serve as a resource to educate growers and the public about the aerial application industry’s professional standards, technological advancements and constant focus on safety. To watch the “Operation S.A.F.E. Calibration Clinic Preparation” video, visit the Operation S.A.F.E. page of the website.
- NAAA returns to Savannah, Ga., Dec. 1–6 for its 2012 Convention & Exposition. As is the case with all NAAA conventions, opportunities were abundant for participants to network, shop the exhibit floor at the world’s largest agricultural aviation trade show for the latest cutting-edge equipment, parts and services, attend substantive industry educational sessions and celebrate another year of service to an industry vital to agricultural production and protection.
Join the Cause by Becoming an NAAA Member in 2013!
Having our annual convention in December allows us to end each year on a high note, but clearly 2012 was a year in which NAAA delivered plenty of high notes. The small size of NAAA’s staff (seven association professionals) belies the outsize results the Association delivers. That’s because NAAA’s for-hire employees are augmented by a supportive group of more than 1,800 aerial application supporters. We invite you to join the cause of preserving and protecting agricultural aviation and your way of life if you aren’t a member already. To join, call 202-546-5722 or visit our Membership section and sign up online.