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New Director Named to Lead AgWeatherNet

PULLMAN, Wash. — Gary G. Grove, a Washington State University professor of plant pathology and Extension plant pathologist, is the first director of the state’s newly expanded Agricultural Weather Network.

Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, and WSU Extension Dean Linda Kirk Fox announced the appointment today.

“Thanks to a partnership led by the state’s tree fruit industry, the Washington Legislature has provided the resources to expand a service that is vital to farmers throughout the state,” Bernardo said. “As a member of the AgWeatherNet Advisory Committee, Gary has played a pivotal role in its development. Now as director, we will have the benefit of his sustained leadership.”

Grove said he is looking forward to taking AgWeatherNet to the next level of effectiveness, scope and service.

“This was one of those career opportunities too inviting and challenging to pass up. Once we have the proper teams in place, we have a real chance to revolutionize Washington agriculture and information delivery” he said.

In addition to his new role, Grove will continue his research program in cherries, wine grapes and hops.

Critically important to the state’s agricultural economy, AgWeatherNet provides weather data used for everything from irrigation scheduling for water use efficiency to frost prediction to protect tree fruits and other crops. It provides weather data to underpin pest and disease prediction models that lead to minimal and effective use of pesticides, and many other weather-related production management decisions. It also provides important data on wind for fire services and for prediction of airborne particulates.

Fran Pierce and other faculty associated with WSU’s Center for Precision Agricultural Systems envisioned and created AgWeatherNet in 2002 using grants from the American Farmland Trust. In 2005, the Washington Legislature appropriated funding for equipment. During the2006 session, lawmakers appropriated operating dollars. AgWeatherNet began functioning as a separate unit of CAHNRS and Extension on July 1.

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