Dispensing Chemicals and Agricultural Products (Part 137) with UAS

14 CFR Part 137 governs the use of aircraft, including drones, to dispense or spray substances (including disinfectants).

Not all substances fall under this regulation, so you should first check to see if your proposed operation is regulated by Part 137. If the substance you plan to dispense does fall within the definitions in Section 137.3 refer to Certification Process for Agricultural Aircraft Operators for guidance on the requirements you must meet before dispensing it.

What's an Agricultural Operation?

Under Part 137, the following aircraft operations are considered agricultural by nature:

  • Dispensing any economic poison as defined in Section 137.3 
  • Dispensing any other substance intended for plant nourishment, soil treatment, propagation of plant life, or pest control.
  • Engaging in dispensing activities directly affecting agriculture, horticulture, or forest preservation.

Note: The FAA considers chemicals used as disinfectants for viruses to fall in the category of economic poisons as defined in Section 137.3.

Applying for a Part 137 UAS Certificate

There’s a new streamlined process for those applying for a Part 137 UAS certificate. This allows the FAA to streamline both the Part 137 agricultural UAS certification and the drone exemption process for visual line of sight (VLOS) operations conducted within the altitude and airspeed limitations stipulated by the exemption.

Applicants are no longer required to submit documents to their local Flight Standards District Office. Instead, the applicant must complete FAA Form 8710-3 and submit their exemption number to UAS137Certificates@faa.gov for the FAA to begin the certification process.

How to Apply:

Step 1: Petition for an exemption.

For information on how to petition for an exemption, see the FAA's Office of Rulemaking website. View examples of exemptions for drones conducting agricultural operations.

  • Requests to operate drones previously approved under 49 U.S.C. § 44807 for routine commercial agricultural-related operations will receive expedited processing of their exemption request.
  • Requests to operate drones under 55 pounds in routine commercial agricultural-related operations will also receive expedited processing of their exemption request.

Requests to operate outside of these routine agricultural-related operations or requests to use aircraft without § 44807 approval may take longer to review. 

Step 2: Apply for an Agricultural Aircraft Operator Certificate (AAOC).

Note: You must complete the exemption process before applying for an Agricultural Aircraft Operator Certificate (AAOC).

To learn more about dispensing chemicals and agricultural products (Part 137), contact the UAS Support Center.

Last updated: Thursday, June 22, 2023