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Unmanned Aerial Applicating FAQ

What do I need to Aerial Applicate with a drone in North Dakota?

Any individual or company that will be aerial spraying with an unmanned aircraft in North Dakota is required to operate with a license from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission and should be aware of the following requirements:

Spring 2022 was the first opportunity for operators to apply for an aerial applicator license for unmanned aircraft. North Dakota Administrative Law 6-02-02 has been updated and now includes requirements and safety standards for unmanned aircraft operators to provide aerial application in North Dakota.

Click here to print a helpful guide.

PART 137 (Dispensing Chemicals and Ag products with UAS):

The regulation for operating drones to dispense or spray substances (including disinfectants) is 14 CFR Part 137, Agricultural Aircraft Operations.


Under 14 CFR Part 137, Agricultural aircraft operation means the operation of an aircraft for the purpose of:

  1. Dispensing any economic poison;
  2. Dispensing any other substance intended for plant nourishment, soil treatment, propagation of plant life, or pest control, or;
  3. Engaging in dispensing activities directly affecting agriculture, horticulture, or forest preservation, but not including the dispensing of live insects.


PART 107 (Small UAS Rule):

In order to fly your drone under the FAA's Small UAS Rule, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. This certificate demonstrates that you understand the regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones.


The maximum operating weight of an unmanned aircraft while conducting aerial application in North Dakota is five hundred pounds.



The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission requires an annual safety meeting that can be fulfilled through attendance of the professional aerial applicators' support system (PAASS) program or by attending the NDAC annual safety meeting. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture requires attendance at PAASS at least once every three years.



A pilot who is identified on the aerial applicator's license must hold a commercial air core pesticide certification from the NDSU Extension Pesticide Certification Program. What is a pesticide certification? Simply put, the process in which an individual becomes certified to apply pesticides. The application of pesticides in the US without certification is illegal. Certification differs between private and commercial for manned, but not for unmanned.

Out of State? If you want to apply a restricted-use pesticide in North Dakota, you must hold a ND Certificate. Reciprocity questions can be directed to the NDSU Extension Service.


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