TPSA Adviser – June 2018

Welcome to the TPSA Adviser Newsletter!

Inside This Issue
This edition of the TPSA Adviser includes a profile of Brad Bittleston, former Crop Duster, currently president of Interstate Ag Plastics; a report on the 2018 Conference in Memphis; and the benefits of a TPSA Membership.

A younger Brad Bittleston with his dog.
Brad Bittleston flying.
Brad Bittleston with his wife Rochelle and son Jimmy.

Brad Bittleston – Crop Duster and Flying Ace

Brad Bittleston was destined to fly.  When Brad was just 15 years old he made his first solo flight in a Cherokee Piper.  He learned the skill from his father, who also learned it from his father.  Brad is now president of Interstate Ag Plastics.

Brad comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. His grandfather, Vince Bittleston, was a WWII pilot and B-17 flight instructor out Minter Field air base and now called Minter Field Airport.  After WWII he settled in Buttonwillow, California and started Vince Crop Dusters.

Brad's grandfather Vince and his grandmother Winnie Bittleston headed on vacation in their biplane.
Brad Bittleston describes his love of flying, “It’s still an essential step in feeding America.”

In 1945, the old Stearman Airplanes did not have the capacity for crop dusting, so Grandfather Vince assisted in building and manufacturing the Grumman bi-planes known as the AgCats to do the work of applying pesticides to farming fields.  And Vince Bittleston’s wife Winnie, Brad’s grandmother, flagged for her husband. Brad’s father, Allan Bittleston, was born in Bakersfield California.

Being a pilot, Brad had many close calls, including flying through power lines; Engine Failures losing a brake on landing and crashing into a ditch.  Brad also experienced having a spreader detach from his plane in the middle of spraying a field.  As the spreader’s locking mechanism failed, it sent Brad into a spiral descent to within 100 feet of the ground. Through his flight knowledge and experience he managed to regain control and land safely.

Brad also experienced having his turbo prop run through a power line. This had happened on multiple occasions but this one was different.  One of which the damage was not noticed until one day his plane began to lose altitude while he was in the midst of a turn on one of his spray runs.  Later it was found out that the bearings had been fried by the electricity from the power lines that he ran through earlier. Brad managed to dump the load in the middle of the desert as he skimmed the ground.

After college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Brad went to Santa Monica Airport to train for his commercial instrument-rated pilot license which is a requirement in order to be a crop duster. This step requires the pilot to fly wearing a hood for one hour, on a pre-determined route. Brad passed the test.

Brad’s grandfather, Vince died in 1991, but grandmother Winnie is 93.

Brad has not flown recently as his recycling business keeps him busy, however he describes his love of flying, “It’s still an essential step in feeding America.”

Brad with his father Allan Bittleston
Brad's grandfather Vince Bittleston.
Workers from Vince's Crop Dusters surveying plane after crash landing.

2018 Conference Recap – Held February 6-8 in Memphis, Tennessee

Plan on attending the TPSA Annual Conference – February 5-7, 2019 – Savannah, Georgia

Two keynote speakers were featured

Bill Gibbons, Public Safety Institute, The University of Memphis, Welcome to Memphis

Rick Keigwin, Director, US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs presenting The Role of  Stewardship in EPA’s Registration Decisions.

Presentations included

  • Respirator Training
  • How Instant Data Can Increase Safety and Re-use of Pesticides
  • Hazardous Categorization
  • The Good and Bad of Recycling Asset Tank
  • Chemical and Environmental Influences for Off-Target Movement of Auxin Herbicide Droplets
  • Vapor Restrictions for Newer Herbicide Technologies

Presenters included

  • Dr. Stanley Culpepper, Univ. of Georgia
  • Dr. Jason Devaux, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture
  • Dr. Allan Felsot, Washington State University
  • Dr. Candance Bartholmew, University of Connecticut
  • Dave Scott, Office of Indiana State Chemist
  • Caleb Rick, EcoGlobal
  • Gail Amos, Washington State Dept. of Agriculture
  • Nancy Fitz, US EPA
  • Dr. Larry Steckel, University of Tennessee
  • Craig Colton, 3M 
  • Jennifer Thomasen, Bayer CropScience
  • Jean Payne, President – Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association
  • Donnie Taylor – Ag Retailer Association
  • Charlie Vallely – Smarter Sorting

Bill Gibbons, Executive Director Public Safety Institute University of Memphis

Bill Gibbons, Executive Director Public Safety Institute University of Memphis

Keynote Speaker Rick Keigwin Director US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs

Keynote Speaker Rick Keigwin, Director US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs


Click here to view the 2018 Full Conference Agenda

Starting with the 2017 Conference, only TPSA Members and Conference attendees are able to access the individual presentations.

Awards Presented

Program Excellence – Sam Gibson, in memoriam, USAg Recycling
Sam Gibson’s wife Beryl accepting for him.

Leadership in Product Stewardship – Ron Perkins, Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC – now retired)

Outstanding Member Contribution – Don Gilbert, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

President’s Award – Kevin Neal, Office Indiana State Chemist


President’s Award – Bonnie McCarvel, TPSA

Becoming a Member of TPSA

Since last year’s 2017 Conference, only TPSA members and conference attendees will have access to Conference Presentations. The TPSA Membership cycle is September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018 with four categories: Individual $75 – Organization $200 (up to 3 individuals) – Retired $35 – Student $25.
Members also receive reduced conference fees and have the opportunity to get involved in the administrative and policy functions of TPSA through committees and projects.

For more member benefit information, click here.

To complete the membership application, click here.

This issue of the TPSA Adviser is sponsored by:

ACRC logo image BASF logo image Bayer logo image
Dupont Logo Snyder Industries logo image Syngenta logo image