"Eighty percent of our business is outside the United States, so exporting is everything," said Payne Hughes, Thrush's president, who in an interview highlighted efforts to diversify the company's product mix.
"They've got more electronics in a plane than you can shake a stick at," said Mr. Hughes
, who added that they monitor borders with more flexibility and less upfront investment than unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones.
Of course, cropdusting hasn't gone away, especially as farms grow bigger and become more mechanized around the world.
Spraying is banned in Europe, but it's common on the banana farms of Central America and in the sugar cane and soybean fields of Brazil, a burgeoning market where Thrush
has sent planes painted with green and yellow of the South American country's flag.
"The agricultural industry is going very high-tech, and as it does get more high-tech, our products will get more and more high-tech," he
The firm doesn't disclose revenues, but Mr. Hughes
said they've doubled over the last five years.
A tell-it-like-it-is Georgia conservative, Mr. Hughes
doesn't seem like one to back an institution some influential Republicans have derided as a conduit for corporate welfare.
all for less government but that Ex-Im has plugged a gap in the private sector, insuring deals in places like Kenya, where Thrush
first used Ex-Im in 2010.
Buyers in such markets don't have the same capital sources, and private banks and financiers can't provide insurance for orders over $1 million.
If that weren't enough, Ex-Im simply matches what other countries are already doing, he
"If we don't do it somebody else will," Mr. Hughes