By the time he was 22, Clayton Rempel had seen a significant portion of Canada and the U.S. thanks to his work as a long haul over-dimension truck driver. However, he was still looking to take his career to new heights. For him, the answer was agricultural aviation: the process of spraying crops with crop protection products from an aircraft.
Clayton, who grew up on a small beef cattle farm, had always wanted to fly airplanes. In 2008, he obtained his commercial pilot’s licence and began his agriculture aviation career with Jonair in Portage la Prairie, MB. In 2010, Clayton began working as a pilot for Arty's Air Service in Winkler, MB, and also started his first of three seasons as an aerial sprayer in Australia during Canada’s winter months.
Working in Australia allowed him to log close to 900 flight hours a season, as opposed to the 200-300 logged by the average Canadian agriculture pilot. Clayton began apprenticing with aerial spray pattern expert Dr. Dennis Gardisser in 2010 and in 2013 became certified as an Analyst (recognized by the National Aerial Application Research and Education Foundation). In 2014, Clayton took all of his knowledge and turned it into his own business. Seeing the possibility for a successful agriculture career, he formed Clayton Air Service. He started with three airstrips and a turbine Air Tractor 502 (AT502). In the spring of 2015, he added a second aircraft to the fleet.
Clayton Air offers aerial seeding of canola and specializes in the application of fungicides, insecticides and pre-harvest applications. The company is also exploring other options related to seeding, fertilizer and pasture spraying.
Aerial spraying is not only good for producers, but it’s also good for the environment. Producers reduce their work load and stress since an airplane can accomplish more in an hour than conventional ground equipment can in a day. This means less fuel used, less air pollution and no soil compaction.
Clayton loves working in the agriculture industry, and especially enjoys helping transform a farmer’s field from bare land to a fruitful, bountiful crop. Getting to fly is the icing on the cake. While agriculture aviation requires long hours and extreme dedication, Clayton says it’s a very rewarding career.