This group covers establishments primarily engaged in performing crop planting, cultivating, and protecting services. Establishments engaged in complete maintenance of citrus groves, orchards, and vineyards are classified in SIC 0762: Farm Management Services.
Other Nonscheduled Air Transportation
Soil Preparation, Planting and Cultivating
The crop planting, cultivating, and protecting industry encompasses a variety of services, including: aerial dusting and spraying; bracing of orchard trees and vines; citrus grove cultivation; corn detasseling; hoeing; insect control for crops, with or without fertilizing; irrigation system operation; planting crops; pruning orchard trees and vines; weed control; and other miscellaneous activities. The highly fragmented industry is dominated by small, private, local companies. As a result, statistical data on this group is scant.
Most industry activities, such as corn detasseling and hoeing, are relatively self-explanatory. One of the larger and more complex services is aerial application, or crop dusting, which usually entails dusting or spraying crops of large acreage with pesticides and weed control chemicals from an airplane. Aerial application is used for more than 65 percent of crop chemical applications in the United States, according to the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA). Besides increasing the speed and efficiency of the dusting process, aerial crop dusting eliminates the need to apply chemicals with wheeled vehicles that could damage crops. The crop dusting industry faced repeated shutdowns in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks raised concerns that crop dusters could be used to spread biological contaminants.
The need for crop services is an indicator of the trend toward advanced, large-scale farming practices that accelerated during the post-World War II U.S. economic expansion. During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, U.S. farms became increasingly mechanized to take advantage of economies of scale. Importantly, the development of advanced pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other chemical treatments resulted in an entire chemical application services industry. Likewise, new machinery significantly increased the amount of cultivated land which a single landowner could efficiently manage. Aerial crop dusting, performed as early as the 1920s using World War I surplus aircraft, for...