Synthesis Topics

Synthesis of Agricultural Operations on Airports Grounds In Reserve

The proposed synthesis aims to address the experiences of airport operators with agricultural operations that take place within the airport's compound.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Airports grounds are essentially not required to be used for cultivation of agricultural crops because of the risk of attracting hazardous wildlife. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not recommend establishing habitat (including agricultural cultivation of crops and grains) within five (5) miles of an airport. Federal regulations however provide provision for airport operators to use the airport land property for cultivation of crops while following specified guidelines – such as Advisory Circulars. One of the reasons airports allow the utilization of airport property for cultivation purposes is to increase revenue sources for their operations. However, previous studies have recommended additional research to quantify the risks associated with the specific agricultural operations on the airport property. Other airports, which experience increase in air traffic, have ceased the agricultural operations that were initially happening on the airport grounds – Indianapolis International Airport is one of them. It is important to understand key drivers that motivate whether or not the airport operators open up the property for agricultural operations. In addition, it is equally important to understand the regulatory landscape with regard to farming operations.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

This synthesis will provide a comprehensive landscape of agricultural operations that take place within the airport grounds. Through collection of existing farming practices in various airports, the synthesis aims to help the airport operators and other interested stakeholders to

  1. Familiarize with existing regulations (federal, state, and local) that pertain to farming operations at airports
  2. Know what procedures are to be undertaken if an airport wanted to open up its land property to agricultural operations
  3. Identify the risks related with farming activities including safety of aircraft operators and passengers, and possibility of wildlife hazards
  4. Analyze the social and economic impact of agricultural operations that are performed on airports grounds
Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

To accomplish this synthesis, the following tasks will be covered

  1. Conduct literature review on the current regulatory landscape with regard to farming operations on airport grounds
  2. Interview airport operators that have leased or are leasing the airport property for farming operations and obtain specific information with regard to several aspects including safety, regulations, and impacts of the farming agreements
  3. Summarize the information from the airport operators and the regulations
Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

The following research provide relevant framework for this synthesis topic:
 ACRP Report 32 – Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports
 ACRP Synthesis 52 – Habitat Management to Deter Wildlife at Airports
 ACRP Report 27 – Enhancing Airport Land Use Compatibility – Volume1: Land Use Fundamentals and Implementation Resources
 ACRP Report 27 - Enhancing Airport Land Use Compatibility – Volume1: Land Use Survey and Case Study Summaries
This synthesis will provide actual experiences of airport operators who utilizing the airport grounds by leasing them to farmers possibly with the goal being to increase airport revenue.

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Idea No. 258