BASF/NAAA Partnership Supports Future of Ag Pilots

2013-NAAA-BASF-Ag-Aviation-Scholarship-winnersThree up-and-coming agricultural pilots were awarded scholarships sponsored by BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) to help them turn their dreams of becoming professional agricultural pilots into reality.

Kole Pederson of Crookston, MN; Richard Conrad of Kiel, WI and Heidi Stoeppler of Bakersfield, CA were awarded the NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 during the 47th Annual NAAA Convention and Exposition in Reno, NV. To qualify for the Agricultural Aviation Scholarship, applicants have to be sponsored by an NAAA member operator.

The scholarships are part of a longstanding partnership between BASF and NAAA to support the futures of students pursuing careers in the aerial application industry. Each year, two budding pilot trainees are awarded a scholarship; however, this year, three deserving applicants were selected.

“These passionate aviation students exemplify what it means to work hard and follow your dreams,” said Gary Fellows, Ph.D., Technical Market Manager, BASF, and member of the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation’s Professional Aerial Applicators’ Support System (NAAREF PAASS) Program Development Committee. “The scholarships offer the students an opportunity to pursue their goals and continue to move towards becoming invaluable members of the aerial application industry.”

Pederson attends University of Minnesota, pursuing a degree in aviation with an emphasis in agricultural aviation. He holds a private pilot certificate and tailwheel endorsement from the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation. Pederson was sponsored by Tom Rongen of AgriMAX LLC in Fisher, MN.

Conrad attends Fox Valley Technical College’s Aircraft Avionics program. He holds a private pilot certificate and tailwheel endorsement, as well as a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCAP) Commercial Applicator’s License. Dean Heimermann of Countryside Aviation LLC in Chilton, WI, sponsored him.

Stoeppler is training with the Bakersfield Flying Club as she builds time toward her private pilot certificate. She is sponsored by Jon Slikker of Vince Dusters in Bakersfield, CA.

Hemisphere GPS Talking to Aerial Applicators

Greg Guyette Hemisphere GPSI had my first opportunity to learn about Hemisphere GPS during the National Agricultural Aviation Association convention when I spoke with Greg Guyette, General Manager, Air & Imagery Business. Greg says that their systems are “moving to data management, data movement, real time systems.” It’s becoming all about being able to immediately move a file or access a file to be more efficient as an aerial applicator or farmer. He mentions their purchase of Ag Junction which he says have had the best record of handling data in the past ten years.

The product Greg talked with aerial applicators the most about was their new Satloc G4 aerial guidance system.

The Satloc G4™ is the most complete and advanced aerial guidance system for aerial applicators. Satloc G4 is built with the top-of-the-line processing power of Intel® Dual-Core™ i7 processor and includes Windows® 7 64-bit operating system.

The Satloc G4 features a new 9-inch, 16:9 ratio touchscreen capable of providing faster video graphics as well as the latest in touchscreen technology. Use multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, rotate and press and drag to access information. Experience improved connection speeds for downloading job and shape files and prescription maps. The Satloc G4 features video capabilities including Skype™ and Ethernet connectivity for cell-based modems.

You can listen to my interview with Greg Guyette here to learn more about Hemisphere GPS: Interview with Greg Guyette

You can find photos from the 2012 NAAA Convention here: 2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Precision Laboratories Talks Volare DC with Aerial Applicators

Precision Laboratories at NAAAHere’s the Precision Laboratories team during the recent National Agricultural Aviation Association convention. On the far left is Jim Reiss, vice president of agricultural chemistries. We talked about what the company offers aerial applicators. He focused on Volare DC™, a recently launched adjuvant technology. Here’s a description from their website.

Volare DC, briefly known as Avianis DC, delivers improved drift control, deposition and coverage when applied through aerial application equipment. Unlike ordinary drift retardants designed for ground application,Volare DC optimizes droplet size and deposition by “right-sizing” spray droplets to resist wind stream shear that ruptures oversized droplets formed from ordinary drift retardants.

“Aerial applicators are under ever increasing pressure to cover more acres while delivering timely and on-target applications of crop protection products,” said Jim Reiss, vice president of Agricultural Chemistries at Precision Laboratories. “Oversized spray droplets can break apart at application speeds above 125 mph, creating smaller droplets that are more susceptible to drift. Volare DC is specifically designed for aerial applicators to optimize droplet size and resist breakup at high speeds.”

You can listen to my interview with Jim to learn more about what they offer aerial applicators here: Interview with Jim Reiss

You can find photos from the 2012 NAAA Convention here: 2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

AgSync Helping with Logistics

During last week’s National Agricultural Aviation Association convention I met Clay Rassi, AgSync. We’ve visited with AgSync at the NAAA convention for the last several years. It’s always nice to find out what’s new.

Clay says this year AgSync is focused on letting ag aviators better communicate with the office using real time order processing without having to be distracted by it while flying.

When it comes to the growth of the use of fungicides in aerial application Clay says they’ve been working with BASF to help their customers “get it done” when they have a short window of opportunity.

Of course AgSync doesn’t only work with aerial application but ground application too. Clay says they specialize in helping companies move assets and move product, “the right amount of product to the right place at the right time.” It’s all about logistics!

You can listen to my interview with Clay here: Interview with Clay Rassi

You can find photos from the 2012 NAAA Convention here: 2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Ag Aviators Meeting in Georgia

The 2012 National Agricultural Aviation Association convention and trade show is underway in Savannah, GA. I’m here covering the meeting on However, I’ll be getting some great interviews to share with you here as well. Let’s start with this one.

Here’s Andrew Moore (left), Executive Director, NAAA and the opening breakfast keynote speaker Story Musgrave. Story’s story was filled with great anecdotes from his career as an astronaut with agricultural roots. He also had a slide show filled with unbelievable photos from space and different periods of his career.

I spoke with Andrew after watching today’s Fire Boss Water Drop demonstration to get an overview of the convention. Andrew says that the NAAA and the convention grow bigger each year. Attendance is up and so is membership. This year’s program features lots of educational opportunities as well as a big trade show which kicks off tomorrow. But it’s not all work. There continues to be plenty of time to network with others in the industry and just plain relax.

You can listen to my interview with Andrew here: Interview with Andrew Moore

You can find photos from the 2012 NAAA Convention here: 2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Syngenta Talks QuiltXcel With Aerial Applicators

Jason Beissenherz, Syngenta, (not pictured) brought me up to date on the latest from Syngenta during the recent National Agricultural Aviation Association convention.

Jason works out of Grand Island, NE with a focus on the Syngenta fungicide lineup. He says they’re talking about their new QuiltXcel launch. It was in limited release last year and went into full release this year. He says it’s a great fit for aerial applicators.

Quilt Xcel™ is the next evolution of elite systemic fungicides containing the Power of Two™ active ingredients to provide both curative and preventive disease control to optimize Plant Performance™. This powerful new formulation provides long-lasting residual control of a broad-spectrum of diseases to maximize yield and quality.

You can listen to my interview with Jason here: NAAA Syngenta Interview

2010 NAAA Convention Photo Album

New Herbicides From Dupont

During the recent National Agricultural Aviation Association convention I learned what’s new with Dupont.

I spoke with Craig Alford (pictured center) who told me the aerial applicators are very interested in their new Pastora herbicide for Bermudagrass pasture weed control. They also have several other non crop herbicides in the works too.

You can listen to my interview with Craig here: NAAA Dupont Interview

2010 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Aerial Precision

David EbyThis week I’m attending the National Agricultural Aviation Association Convention in Las Vegas. It’s the first contact I’ve had with this group and I’ve been learning a lot. For example, I didn’t realize how big a role precision agriculture is playing in aerial application. I guess it makes sense though. If you can use gps and variable rate on the ground then why not from the air?

One of the people who explained some of this to me was David Eby, AgSync, pictured on the left of Denise and Ryan Eby in their trade show booth. David says that they realized the need for aerial application companies to have a software solution for managing data, especially when they’ve got multiple planes in the air. So they developed AgSync, which is a web based solution for this problem. We’re sure seeing a growth in web based programming aren’t we? Even in ag!

David says they’ve been working closely with BASF on the development of this program. I’ve been hearing a lot of applicators here talking about BASF’s Headline fungicide and I asked him what that has meant for the business. He says “it has changed our world in aerial application.”

Listen to my interview with David here: basf-naaa-08-eby.mp3

If you’d like to see some photos from the convention then check these out: NAAA Convention Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the 2008 National Agricultural Aviators Association Convention
is sponsored by: BASF.