Across the United States, general aviation is a vital resource for our nation’s farms and agricultural producers. Agricultural aviation operations ensure that our nation’s farmers continue to supply our communities with food and resources such as cotton, timber, bio-fuel ingredients, and farmers rely upon aerial application operations to survey and monitor crops, seed rice and wheat, feed fish, defoliate cotton prior to harvest, and fight forest and grassland fires. In addition, agricultural aviation allows for the application of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizer for fruit, vegetables and grain crops. The use of aircraft allows large areas to be covered quickly, delivering mostly liquid products to control pests and diseases, as well as providing nutrients to planted crops. This process also ensures that the soil and growing crops are not disturbed.
Aviation is vital to protecting crops and helping farms to survive
General aviation aircraft are vital to ensuring that health-threatening pests are controlled, and supporting the operations of local farms and businesses.
- According to the National Agricultural Aviation Association, there are roughly 1,350 aerial application businesses in the United States in 46 states.
- Aerial application operations account for around 20% of commercially-applied crop protection products.
- In the United States, roughly 71 million acres of cropland are annually treated utilizing aerial application.
- Aerial applicators account for 100% of forest protection applications.
- These aircraft also assist with public health application services, helping to combat mosquitoes and other pests.
Agricultural aviation also supports fire-fighting services. Across the country, agricultural aviation pilots provide their services and experience to ground-based firefighters, aiding those on the ground to suppress fires quickly and safely.
General aviation not only helps farms with aerial application and surveying of their land, but ensures that farms can maintain access to supplies, deliver goods and reach customers in far-off markets. As a result of this access, general aviation helps farms and businesses to support local economies and rural America as a whole.