The Grumman G-164 Ag-Cat is the first aircraft specifically designed by a major aircraft company for agricultural aviation. The purpose-built ag aircraft represented a huge step up in safety and reliability from converted dusters. Grumman originally considered marketing the G-164 aircraft under the name “The Grasshopper.” However, an aerial applicator named Dick Reade in Missouri suggested “Ag-Cat,” following the naming convention Grumman used of adding the suffix “-Cat” to its other aircraft names, such as the F6F Hellcat. Grumman agreed and the Grumman G-164 became known thereafter as the Ag-Cat.
During the years following the rugged biplane’s introduction in 1957, thousands of updated Ag-Cats were built. Schweizer Aircraft Corp. built more than 2,600 Ag-Cats, including 1,730 G-164s and 165As for Grumman between 1959 and 1980.
In 1980, Grumman management divested itself of its agricultural line and transferred all properties in inventories to Schweitzer Aircraft Corp.
In 1995, Schweizer sold the designs to Ag-Cat Corp. of Malden, Missouri, which went bankrupt before producing any new Ag-Cats. The Ag-Cat designs went to Allied Ag-Cat Productions Inc. of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, in 2001. Allied Ag-Cat Productions has not produced any either.
Today, while they are no longer manufactured, the Ag-Cat remains a staple of agricultural aviation. Many radial and turbine powered Ag-Cats are still in use. The Ag-Cat’s popularity is due to its 300-plus-gallon hopper and ease of flying.