Taking an SAE to New Heights

Taking an SAE to New Heights

In the heart of rural Missouri, innovation is taking flight, quite literally. Meet Logan Petree and Johnathan Ehlers, the high school duo behind Petree Aerial Applications.

Both members of the Tipton, MO FFA Chapter, their innovative use of technology in agriculture has not only transformed their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project but has also paved the way for aspiring young entrepreneurs to dream big and reach for the skies.

In this blog post, we delve into their journey, challenges faced, and the invaluable lessons they offer to future FFA students considering similar endeavors.


The Birth of Petree Aerial Applications

Logan Petree’s SAE project, Petree Aerial Applications, revolves around the use of agricultural spray drones to spray fungicides and insecticides over corn and beans. This endeavor began with an idea, a spark that was ignited when Logan and his father, Wade Petree, stumbled upon an advertisement about sprayer drones online. 

“When Logan was coming up with ideas for an SAE project, we put our heads together and I said – let’s do something out of the box. We did a little research, found some information online, and decided to jump in wholeheartedly,” says Wade. 


Overcoming Challenges and Innovating Solutions

Logistics, equipment, and the complex chemistry associated with any type of custom application work emerged as initial hurdles. However, meticulous planning and innovative thinking helped the team overcome many obstacles. 

One significant turning point involved adding an additional stakeholder to the team. 

“We worked off of a tandem axle utility trailer our first year, and knew going into the second season that we needed to do something a little different. That’s when we got a hold of Johnathon,” says Wade. 

A talented welder with a knack for strategic vision and problem-solving, Ehlers devised a custom-built trailer with a flight deck, enhancing efficiency and allowing for more streamlined applications.


The Role of Mentorship

According to Logan and Johnathon’s agriculture education advisor Amanda Twenter, the sky’s the limit for a project like this. Well-positioned to teach aspiring entrepreneurs the business side of record keeping, as well as making strategic connections within the community that unlock the potential for future SAE projects, she encourages students to dream big. 

And when it comes to Petree Aerial Applications, “Logan’s grown as a business leader as well as a communicator. I’ve just been very, very impressed with what he’s been able to accomplish.” 


Lessons Learned and Future Aspirations

Reflecting on his experiences, Logan emphasizes the importance of dedication and passion. He advises future FFA students to approach their projects with wholehearted commitment, acknowledging the significant investments of time, effort, and money. 

According to Logan, “Make sure you’re putting your whole heart into it, and not doing anything halfway.”

For Logan’s father, Wade, “I can really see this business expanding. I’d like to see him bring on a few more drones, and even hire some pilots in the future.”



Logan Petree and Jonathan Ehlers’ journey exemplifies the spirit of innovation and tenacity that defines all aspiring FFA members. Their venture into the realm of agricultural sprayer drones serves as an inspiration to students, educators, and parents alike. As the landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology and fostering creativity are essential. 

Petree Aerial Applications stands as a testament to what can be achieved when passion meets perseverance, reminding us all that the sky is not the limit—it’s just the beginning.


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