Ag Aviators All in the Family

Cindy Zimmerman

naaaAt this year’s National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) convention, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful family that is dedicated to the business of aerial crop protection in North Dakota.

Left to right, they are Jayse Wharam, his mother and father Vernie and Glen, and brother Chris. Glen is the owner of Valley Sprayers in Park River, ND and a member of the NAAA board of directors and Jayce is a pilot with the company. Chris is a tech services rep with BASF in North Dakota, and Verni is the glue that keeps them all together.

Glen purchased Valley Sprayers in 1995 because flying was in his blood. “I remember flying with my dad since I was about three years old,” he said. “Fortunately for me, my two sons have stayed close to that industry as well.”

Jayce and Chris were involved with the business from a very young age. “Some of the earliest memories I have are being at the airport, my dad had a repair shop and worked on small engines back then,” Jayce said, noting that he just finished his 16th season as a pilot with Valley Sprayers.

Chris took a different path and went to North Dakota State University to ultimately get a master’s degree in plant pathology so he could stay involved in the agriculture and ag aviation business on the crop protection products side. He’s been with BASF now for almost four years.

Meanwhile, Verni has been in a totally different industry for the past 40 plus years as a neonatal nurse while at the same time supporting the company at home. “I haul the meals to the airport or out to the field wherever they are. I’m kind of their go-fer,” Verni said, although the men in her life think of her more as a saint.

Listen to my interview with the Wharams here: Wharam Famiy

2011 NAAA Convention Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the 2011 NAAA Convention is sponsored by BASF