One hundred years ago, on Aug. 3, 1921, an aerial crop dusting experiment spawned the birth of the agricultural aviation industry. Watch (and share) the videos below on the industry’s legacy after a century of agricultural aviation.

 

Click here to watch a two-minute overview of the August 3 Centennial Celebration in Leesburg, VA.

Two-Minute Video

Eight-Minute Video

ABOUT AG AVIATION

Agricultural aviation is an important part of the overall aviation and agriculture industries. The industry consists of small businesses and pilots that use aircraft to aid farmers in producing a safe, affordable and abundant supply of food, fiber and bio-energy. Aerial applicators protect forestry and play an important role in protecting the public by combating mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, encephalitis and other diseases. Aerial applicators are highly trained professionals who have made a very large investment in their business. Like all Americans, they are concerned with human health, the environment, security and performing their job in a responsible manner.

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LEGACY OF AG AVIATION

August 3, 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of an experiment in Ohio when lead arsenate dust was spread over catalpa trees to kill sphinx moth larvae. Under the direction of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Lt. John A. Macready, a U.S. Army pilot, made the first application by aircraft with a modified Curtiss JN-6 “Super Jenny.” The government then utilized aerial application in the Southern states. In 1922, Curtiss biplanes were used to dust cotton fields near Tallulah, LA, to control bollweevils. In 1923, Huff-Daland Dusters, Inc.—the forerunner of Delta Airlines—did the first commercial dusting of crops with its own specially built aircraft.

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THE FUTURE OF AG AVIATION

According to the U.N., and a number of other statistical sources world population will increase from 7.6 billion today to 8.1 billion in 2025 and to 8.5 to 9 in 2050—after that experts disagree on population projections but the bottom line is the next 30 years show there will be a lot more mouths to feed, bodies to clothe, and bio-energy needed to energize the world. This coupled with significant growth in the middle class, which is 2 billion today and expected to grow to 4.9 billion by 2030, again supports longer term gains in world food demand, global agricultural trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Something, farmers, and farm service providers, such as aerial applicators, can be optimistic about as we move forward towards the close of the first quarter of this 21st century.

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NAAA works to support the agricultural aviation industry which is made up of small businesses and pilots that use aircraft to aid farmers in producing a safe, affordable and abundant supply of food, fiber and bio-energy, in addition to protecting forestry and controlling health-threatening pests.

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