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.

Aerial Precision in the Hemisphere

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

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Importance of Support for Aerial Application Business

Kyle Scott and Justin MookDuring the National Agricultural Aviation Association convention I met aerial applicator Kyle Scott, Scott Aviation (right). Kyle sponsored Justin Mook, 2012 NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarship recipient, pictured on left. Kyle is Treasurer of the NAAA and has been in the aerial application business for over twenty years. He’s been a member since the beginning of his career in the industry.

I asked Kyle why he sponsored Justin for the scholarship. Justin used to be a customer of his who always wanted to be a pilot. Kyle says that when Justin’s farm dried up due to drought he talked with Kyle about getting into the business and has been working on the ground for Kyle since then. Kyle says the scholarship is very important as a way to attract young people to get into the aerial application business. There is a significant investment in getting your license and going through the educational process and the scholarship helps make that possible.

You can listen to my interview with Kyle here: Interview with Kyle Scott

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

BASF Support of Aerial Application Industry

The BASF team was looking good this week at the National Agricultural Aviation Association Convention. Here they are just as the trade show started.

During the show I visited with a couple of the representatives on hand starting with our good friend Dr. Gary Fellows, Technical Marketing Manager. Gary presented the NAAA/BASF Scholarship awards and was available to talk about the products that BASF has that are well suited for aerial application. This includes their Headline fungicide of course. We also talked about what type of research BASF is doing for aerial application and BASF’s support of the NAAA Operation S.A.F.E. fly-ins.

You can listen to my interview with Gary here: Interview with Dr. Gary Fellows

Up next is Daryl Theis, Product Manager. We talked about BASF’s commitment to the aerial application industry that includes scholarships, product r&d and innovative products and relationships with companies like AgSync. More on that in an upcoming post.

You can listen to my interview with Daryl here: Interview with Daryl Theis

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Incoming NAAA President on Membership

The incoming President of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, Dana Ness, Ag-Air Inc., Chester, MT, talked with me about membership. He’s pretty excited to be taking on the job of President at the first of the year. When it comes to membership in the organization he says “Membership is my voice in Washington.” That’s very important when there are regulatory challenges to the industry as we see right now.

Personally, Dana says that he was raised in the agriculture industry and has always been a member. He says NAAA was the only voice out there and has always been there for him. Besides legislative representation Dana says that NAAA also provides important training via the Professional Aerial Applicators’ Support System (PAASS) program and opportunities for members to make sure their equipment is in top shape via Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-Ins. He sees a bright future for aspiring ag aviators who would like become professionals and highly encourages them to contact the organization and perhaps apply for one of the NAAA/BASF scholarships.

You can listen to my interview with Dana here: Interview with Dana Ness

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

President of the NAAA Optimistic for Future

The 2012 President of the National Agricultural Aviation Association is Mark Hartz. Mark is a 30 year ag pilot from Arkansas. He has a two plane operation with a partner.

Mark is very happy with the convention, attendance and the city of Savannah for being great hosts for the NAAA. When it comes to industry challenges Mark says they are always there but right now they have a major one hanging over their heads in the NPDES permits. In my interview with Mark you’ll hear him express his optimism for the future of ag aviation and offer some encouraging words to future ag aviators.

You can listen to my interview with Mark here: Interview with Mark Hartz

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Ag Aviators Dealing with Duplicate Regulations

Dealing with EPA’s NPDES and state pesticide general permits. Sounds daunting doesn’t it? Well it is for agricultural aviators. It is government regulation that duplicates already existing regulation and is something that the NAAA has been working on in Washington, DC all year and it looks like will have to continue to do so.

To provide NAAA members with an overview and update, Dr. John Thorne, Bergeson & Campbell, PC, spoke on the subject this morning at the NAAA convention. His job was to explain the regulations and help attendees protect themselves to the fullest extent possible. He offered guidance on what ag aviators need to do to stay in compliance and avoid subjecting themselves to enforcement actions. If you’d like to know more about this issue then give his remarks a listen.

You can listen to John’s remarks here: Remarks by Dr. John Thorne

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

The Women of the NAAA

The current President of the Women of the National Agricultural Aviation Association is Katy Diehl. We visited here in Savannah at the NAAA convention. Kathy is from Garden City, KS and is married to an agricultural aviator and is personally a banker.

The Women of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (WNAAA) is a companion organization to the NAAA. Members are women involved in aerial application — spouses, partners and allied industry members. The main objective of the WNAAA is to promote the positive image of the aerial application industry.

Kathy says the WNAAA is mostly involved with education. That includes the general public and attending conventions like the FFA and Commodity Classic to encourage young people to consider a career in ag aviation.

You can listen to my interview with Kathy here: Interview with Kathy Diehl

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

NAAA Annual Membership Meeting

The annual membership meeting was the start of today’s National Agricultural Aviation Association convention. The meeting started out with a comprehensive report from Andrew Moore, Executive Director. You can listen to some of the points he brought up here from the interview we did yesterday.

One of the things in his report that caught my ear was a member request from last year to engage the media more. You could tell that this is a very sensitive subject. I understand why NAAA would be hesitant to reach out to the media when you consider the antagonistic treatment the industry has received by the media in general. However, thinking you can just shut the door and hope nothing bad happens never works. I encourage NAAA to become active with social media. Encouraging your members to do this is fine but you need to set the example! How about joining in with efforts like USFRA or others in which you can contribute and extend the use of your funds?

I have really enjoyed my interaction with the staff of the NAAA. With this quality of professionals I think the organization is in good hands to trust them to invite more ag media to attend the convention and to reach out to non-farm media to help educate them and open the door to transparency. What do you think?

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

NAAA Convention Overview

Here’s Andrew Moore (left), Executive Director, National Agricultural Aviation Association 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

BASF/NAAA Scholarship Winner Kippy Foltyn

One of the two 2012 BASF/NAAA Scholarships was awarded to Kippy Foltyn of Lansford, ND. Foltyn attended Ag Flight Pilot Training LLC in Bainbridge, Georgia, and plans to continue his education later this year with plans to become an aerial applicator.

While visiting with him after this morning’s presentation Kippy says he’s been involved with the ag industry for about four years. He wanted to get into agricultural aviation while watching planes as a kid. He says BASF is doing a great job of helping advance the industry.

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

BASF/NAAA Scholarship Winner Justin Mook

This morning BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association announced their 2012 scholarship awards. One of those receiving an award is Justin Mook of Wiggins, CO. Mook is currently enrolled in Enrich’s Helicopters Flight School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is pursuing his commercial pilot’s license. He already has his private license and hopes to begin his agricultural pilot training after completing his current program this winter.

I visited with Justin right after this morning’s breakfast session. He’s been in production agriculture for all of his career so far. He says he’s had a passion for agricultural aviation since he was a kid. The scholarship was a long shot he thought but as he says, “You never know.” Well now we know!

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Fire Boss Water Drop at NAAA

When the NAAA convention was held in Savannah, GA two years ago this was a big attraction. It’s a Fire Boss water drop.

In between ocean going tankers coming in the Savannah River to dock and unload we got treated again today to a Fire Boss AT-802F Air Tanker demonstration. The pilot performed multiple passes that included filling pontoons with water and then dropping the water back into the river. It makes for quite a show as you’ll see from the video.

2012 NAAA Convention Photo Album

BASF/NAAA Announce 2012 Scholarships

During the opening breakfast of the 2012 National Agricultural Aviation Association two budding pilots got a step closer to soaring over the fields of America thanks to a pair of scholarships from BASF and NAAA. Here’s Justin Mook of Wiggins, CO and Kippy Foltyn of Lansford, ND, with their awards presented by BASF’s Dr. Gary Fellows and NAAA’s President, Mark Hartz. Justin was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and Kippy, $2,500.

“America needs more qualified aerial applicators,” said Gary Fellows, Ph.D., BASF Plant Health Technical Services Manager and member of the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation (NAAREF) Professional Aerial Applicators’ Support System, (PAASS) Program Development Committee. “With these scholarships, we’re able to provide people like Justin and Kippy with the opportunity to receive the education they need to enter the field.”

Mook is currently enrolled in Enrich’s Helicopters Flight School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is pursuing his commercial pilot’s license. He already has his private license and hopes to begin his agricultural pilot training after completing his current program this winter.

Foltyn attended Ag Flight Pilot Training LLC in Bainbridge, Georgia, and plans to continue his education later this year with plans to become an aerial applicator.

“BASF has been a major supporter of NAAA over the years, and we appreciate their continued generosity,” NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore said. “The grant that allowed us to establish the Agricultural Aviation Scholarship has helped ensure that the pipeline remains well stocked with competent and capable professional ag pilots.”

You can listen to remarks from Dr. Gary Fellows here: Remarks from Dr. Gary Fellows

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

Agriblogging Around The Country

Hello from Savannah, GA and the 2012 National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) convention. This is the Westin hotel next to the convention center this morning as I walked over to the fitness center. I’ll be using the #NAAA12 hashtag on Twitter.

While I’m here this week Cindy is in Chicago at the American Seed Trade Association CSS 2012. And Jamie Johansen is on her way to Louisville, KY for the Alltech Global 500. It’s a busy week for the ZimmComm team. So expect to see a lot of stories and interviews this week from the agriblogging highway.

BASF and NAAA Support Operation S.A.F.E Again

BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) are teaming up again for another year of Operation S.A.F.E. (Self-regulating Application and Flight Efficiency).

Through this partnership, BASF provides financial support for participating aerial applicators through sponsorship of fly-ins throughout the country. NAAA members also qualify for application equipment rebates as part of Operation S.A.F.E., which provides aerial applicators an opportunity to increase equipment performance, applicator knowledge and help ensure safety.

“We’ve had more than 1,250 aerial applicators participate in nearly 150 fly-ins throughout the country during the three years our Operation S.A.F.E. incentive program has been in effect,” said Tony Goede, Aerial Manager, BASF. “BASF continues this partnership with NAAA to help the aerial application industry continue to be safe, efficient and effective.”

Any operator or pilot can participate in an Operation S.A.F.E. fly-in clinic. Those who are NAAA members can take advantage of the BASF Equipment and NAAA Membership Rebate Program. NAAA member participants wishing to collect the rebate are required to partake in a calibration clinic, and subsequently complete the BASF and NAAA Operation S.A.F.E. Incentive Program application form. After completing these steps, the operator or pilot can be reimbursed for some of their 2012 membership dues or submit receipts to receive rebates for nozzles and/or tips purchased for their aircraft.

“BASF is steadfast in its commitment to help grow the ag aviation industry, as demonstrated by their generous support of NAAA once again,” said Andrew Moore, Executive Director of NAAA. “We’re grateful for their partnership and for making these incentives available to encourage the most effective, targeted application and increased safety.”

More information about Operation S.A.F.E., including dates of fly-ins as they are scheduled, is available on the NAAA website. Visit BASF’s plant-health-pilots.com for a variety of resources BASF provides aerial applicators, including an “Ask the Expert” section for your toughest aerial application questions.

BASF Helps Custom Applicators in North Dakota

naaaAt the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) convention last week I had the opportunity to chat with Chris Wharam, a BASF tech services rep with in North Dakota, about how they help farmers and custom applicators in his state.

Chris was already pretty familiar with the crop protection business before he took the job with BASF, since his family owns Valley Sprayers in Park River, ND. Chris also has a master’s degree in plant pathology from North Dakota State University. “In my role with BASF, I get the opportunity to work with many people all throughout agriculture – including growers, retailers, distributors, university folks, consultants,” he said.

One of the things that BASF does to help aerial applicators is sponsor Operation S.A.F.E. (Self-Regulating Application and Flight Efficiency) fly-ins around the country. “It’s an opportunity for applicators to get their equipment calibrated and do pattern tests,” Chris said. “A little over 1200 planes have gone through these SAFE fly-ins, 150 different locations all over the United States.”

Many aerial applicators, like Valley Sprayers, also do custom ground applications for their clients, which Chris says is very important for cereal crop growers in his part of the country. “We often will make an application of Headline in the tank with our herbicide applications in that 3-5 leaf stage, and growers are consistently capturing a 4-6 bushel yield bump with that application,” he explained. “As the season progresses, we have an opportunity to apply fungicide again at the flag leaf time and our products at that time would be TwinLine® or Headline.” Finally, at flowering time, Chris says they have the head scab product called Caramba®, “again growers are consistently capturing anywhere from a 5-10 bushel yield advantage and reducing the toxins associated with scab infections.”

Listen to or download my interview with Chris from NAAA here: Chris Wharam with BASF

2011 NAAA Convention Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the 2011 NAAA Convention is sponsored by BASF.

Sled Driver Inspires Ag Aviators

ZimmCast 329Last week I attended the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) convention in Las Vegas. It was the third time we have had the opportunity to find out more about these “unsung heroes of agriculture,” thanks to our friends with BASF.

naaaAmong the many ways BASF supports NAAA is by sponsoring the convention kick off breakfast, which always features a speaker with an aviation theme. This year, that speaker was Brian Shul, pilot and author of the coffee table book Sled Driver – Flying the World’s Fastest Jet, which is a compilation of the best photos that he took over many years flying the SR-71 Blackbird. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list who appreciates military aircraft and/or breathtaking photography! You can order yours at SledDriver.com.

I interviewed Brian at the NAAA about the plane, the book, how he got such great shots, and his continuing love of photography – listen to that conversation in this week’s ZimmCast: Pilot and Author Brian Shul

See more photos from the NAAA convention here – 2011 NAAA Convention Photo Album

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired. Subscribe so you can listen when and where you want. Just go to our Subscribe page.

AgWired coverage of the 2011 NAAA Convention is sponsored by BASF

The Magic of BASF

naaaThere was magic in the air at the BASF booth during the National Agricultural Aviation Association NAAA convention and trade show this past week in Las Vegas.

Those of you who visited with BASF at the 2011 Commodity Classic may have gotten a chance to see corporate magician Jon Petz perform there. BASF liked him so much that they brought him to NAAA to entertain the aerial applicator folks. Jon, pictured here in the middle with some of the BASF crew, is a fun and really interesting guy. Not only is his magic amazing, it’s equally impressive how he works in the BASF message at the same time. Entertaining and educating!

Watch him in action below:

2011 NAAA Convention Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the 2011 NAAA Convention is sponsored by BASF.

BASF Updates Ag Aviators on New Labels

naaaDuring the National Agricultural Aviation Association NAAA convention this week, Dr. Gary Fellows had the opportunity to educate aerial applicators on what’s new from BASF.

Gary participated in a session with a few other crop protection product companies to provide an update on BASF herbicides and fungicides. First of all, Gary talked about the anticipated registration next year of Priaxor for soybeans. “It gives a brand new mix of fungicides for both controlling existing diseases and providing preventative disease control,” Gary says. “It raises the bar with what Headline is today as the standard in the soybean market, with more consistency, better yield and a higher return on investment for the grower.”

naaaGary says a new liquid formulation of Facet® herbicide has benefits for rice producers. “We’ve been selling Facet as a dry formulation for years,” he explained. “We’re excited to sell a true liquid because of the ease of handling and we also get better grass and broadleaf activity with it.”

In addition, Gary updated the ag aviators on two new label expansions from BASF, for Prowl® herbicide on pasture grasses and for Headline® fungicide in alfalfa.

When I interviewed Gary, he also talked about the importance of ag aviators to agriculture and the overall goal of feeding a growing population. Listen to or download my interview with Gary from NAAA here: Dr. Gary Fellows with BASF

2011 NAAA Convention Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the 2011 NAAA Convention is sponsored by BASF.