BASF and NAAA award students with a passion for the skies

December 05, 2016

BASF Media Contact:NAAA Media Contact:
Odessa HinesJay Calleja
Tel: (919) 547-2808Tel: (202) 546-5722
Future aerial applicators receive scholarships to further their goals

LONG BEACH, CA, and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, December 5, 2016 – In today’s diverse agriculture job environment, aerial application, stands out as one of the more unique and challenging career paths. In an effort to support the continuing growth of aerial applicators, BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) are rewarding two promising aviators with scholarships to assist them in following their passions.

Matthew Burkhammer of Carlisle, Arkansas, and Landunn Koyle of Gooding, Idaho, were awarded NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarships of $2,500 and $5,000, respectively. The two winners were recognized at the 50th Annual NAAA Convention & Exposition kickoff breakfast in Long Beach, California.

“We want to ensure that our aerial applicators are knowledgeable, efficient and safe in the skies, especially with today’s rapid technical advancements,” said John Sabatka, Northern Corn Belt IS Manager, BASF. “Our scholarship support helps create a strong pipeline for the industry and enable young aviators to pursue their chosen career paths.”

For 50 years, NAAA has supported small businesses and pilots that use aircraft to aid farmers in producing a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply. Resources such as networking, recruiting and informational services are provided to its members and the aerial application industry.

NAAA works with its partner organization, the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation (NAAREF), to provide research and educational programs focused on enhancing the efficacy, security and safety of aerial application. The purpose of BASF’s long-standing partnership with NAAA is to maintain the success of these goals. By empowering bright, dedicated individuals like Burkhammer and Koyle, the cultivation of future agricultural aviators is possible.

Burkhammer is employed at Tidwell Flying Service in Carlisle, Arkansas, and is currently enrolled at Almond Aviation in Searcy, Arkansas, where he is studying for an instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate. Once that is acquired, Burkhammer will enroll in an agricultural flight training school to pursue a career as an aerial applicator.

Koyle is currently attending a private flight school through a certified flight instructor and is employed at Thomas Helicopters, Inc. in Gooding, Idaho. He is working toward a private, commercial and instrument certification in aviation. Koyle’s ultimate goal is to be an agricultural helicopter aviator.

“BASF has been a major supporter of NAAA over the years, and we appreciate their commitment to nurturing a new generation of competent and capable professional ag pilots,” said Andrew Moore, Executive Director, NAAA. “Since 2010, NAAA has awarded $53,500 in scholarship funds to 15 individuals through the NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarship program. BASF’s investments in these aspiring ag pilots helps sustain this important industry to agriculture, forestry, biofuel production and public health protection both now and in the future.”

Pilot Safety and Efficacy

It’s not just about encouraging and educating new pilots in the field, but also keeping current pilots up to date on product stewardship, best application practices and the latest safety techniques. With a mission to keep pilot safety and effectiveness at the forefront, BASF, NAAA and NAAREF continue to push their aerial application education and training efforts year-round.

Last year marked another successful year in the Operation S.A.F.E. (Self-regulating Application and Flight Efficiency) Professional Application Analysis Clinic. In 2016, the BASF/Operation S.A.F.E. incentive program continued to encourage aerial applicators to participate in fly-in clinics across the country. A total of 347 aircraft were calibrated at 72 fly-in clinics. These clinics took place in 16 states, ranging from North Carolina to California and from North Dakota to Texas. At the fly-ins, applicators work with trained analysts to test equipment, boost performance, increase applicator knowledge and stay up to date with legal requirements and certifications.

“NAAA helps keep aerial applicators well-informed,” said Sabatka. “These applicators aid growers with maximizing crop yields, and we support NAAA with their mission.”

The 50th Annual NAAA Convention & Exposition is Dec. 5 – 8 in Long Beach, California. BASF will be at booth number 747 throughout the tradeshow.

For more information on BASF Crop Protection products, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information on NAAA, visit

For press photo of Landunn Koyle, please click the following link:
Suggested caption:
Landunn Koyle of Gooding, Idaho. Recipient of NAAA scholarship.

For press photo of Matthew Burkhammer, please click the following link:
Suggested caption: Matthew Burkhammer of Carlisle, Arkansas. Recipient of NAAA scholarship.


About BASF’s Crop Protection division

With sales of more than €5.8 billion in 2015, BASF’s Crop Protection division provides innovative solutions for agriculture, turf and ornamental plants, best control and public health. Our broad portfolio of active ingredients, seed treatments, biological controls, formulations and services optimizes efficient production of high quality food and protects against post-harvest loss, damage to building and the transmission of disease. By delivering new technologies and know-how, BASF Crop Protection supports the effort of growers and pest management professionals to make a better life for themselves and society. Further information can be found on the web at or on our social media channels.

About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,500 employees in North America, and had sales of $17.4 billion in 2015. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 112,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at

About NAAA

The National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), founded in 1966, represents approximately 1,900 members in 46 states. NAAA supports the interests of small business owners and pilots licensed as professional commercial aerial applicators who use aircraft to enhance food, fiber and biofuel production, protect forestry and control health-threatening pests.

NAAA provides networking, educational, government relations, public relations, recruiting and informational services to its members and the aerial application industry as a whole.

NAAA works with its partner organization, the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation (NAAREF), to provide research and educational programs focused on enhancing the efficacy, security and safety of aerial application.

Additionally, NAAA performs public outreach on the industry's behalf, communicating the importance of aerial application to agriculture, forestry and the public welfare to the public.

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