Home-United StatesThe Pleasure of Precision

The Pleasure of Precision

By Josh Rittenberry

A wise writer once said, “Precision is, after all, not only a form of responsibility and a kind of pleasure, but an instrument of compassion.  To be precise requires care, time, and attention.”

Ever since Keenan Carlisle’s father, Kenny “Big Daddy” Carlisle, planted his first crop in 1958 alongside his father-in-law in the lowlands of Southeast Missouri, the Carlisle family has been firmly rooted in agriculture. It was only in 2016 that this agriculture-centric family added aerial application to their growing portfolio when the Carlisle family became involved with Precision Ag Aviation as day-to-day managers of the operation.

“It was a full circle moment for me,” recalls Keenan.  “My friend, Rick McCord, approached me and asked if I would be interested in meeting with a group of investors about managing their flying service.  I told him no the first time, but I decided to meet them after Rick’s persistence and hard prayer about it with my wife and family. It’s full circle because Rick started flying for my father in 1978, so I’ve been around the business and have known Rick for many years.”

After four years of successful growth, the Carlisle family had an opportunity to purchase Precision Ag Aviation from the group of investors who had owned it. “In the winter of 2019, we began the purchase of Precision Ag.  We took over full ownership in the spring of 2020 with the combined effort of my wife Debbie, my son Kyle and his wife Jessica, my daughter Chelsea and her husband Jordan”, Keenan states.

When the family took control of operations, they had already traded two older model 510 Thrush aircraft and replaced them with two AT802s.  Today, the operation runs two AT802s, which service a wide swath of land, including all of Southeast Missouri and parts of Western Kentucky. Precision Ag Aviation treats all types of crops typical to the area.  They provide services from pre-planting to defoliating just before harvest, then burn down and later fertilizing.

“None of this could happen without our awesome team of pilots, ground crew, and office personnel!” Keenan declares. Precision Ag Aviation has a foundation built on strong familial bonds like many aerial application operations.

“I’m blessed by God to have a great family,” Keenan says proudly. We are healthy and happy, and that matters the most to me. Kyle and his wife Jessica have three children: 17-year-old son Kadin, 15-year-old daughter Peyton, and 7-year-old son Liam. Chelsea and Jordan have a 14-year-old son, Kolby, an 8-year-old daughter, Presley, and a 10-month-old daughter, Josie.

When not working, family time is a priority to Keenan, but he also likes to make time in the winter for deer hunting, which is when he says he does some of his best thinking. Thinking about the state of the aerial application industry, Keenan sees that as the farmers get bigger, timely applications become more important, and therefore, the margins get tighter.  So ultimately, traditional manned aerial applicators will be needed for a long time into the future.

Keenan believes, like many, that all of the opportunities encountered in life don’t always come by pure happenstance.

“With God, there’s always an appointed time for things, and when you put Him first, trust in His timing, and keep the faith, miracles happen!”





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