Making a living as an ag pilot

G164 Super B Ag Cat Seeding Rice in Northern California

By TRACY T. THURMAN

An ag pilot’s day starts early, just as the sun lifts itself above the horizon. It’s cool in the morning. The air is clean and crisp. Standing on a dew sparkled grass runway watching the landscape emerge into the light of a new day is part of an ag pilot’s daily commute.

The morning calm however, is soon broken by a demanding shout. “Clear!” The ‘tick tick tick tick… whirrrr…’ of a turboprop engine coming to life shatters the serenity and the work day has begun.

All across the country, on air strips in rural valleys and farmlands, the same procedure is repeated. There are millions of acres that need to be planted, treated, and protected. Before most people have had their first cup of coffee, the men and women of agricultural aviation are in motion doing just that.

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