New York State IPM Program

February 15, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Canny Climatologist Codes his way to Excellence in IPM Award

Canny Climatologist Codes his way to Excellence in IPM Award

Keith Eggleston and NYSIPM’s Dr. Juliet Carroll

Keith Eggleston, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) received our Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award at the 2019 Empire State Producers’ Expo in Syracuse, in January.

Begun in 1995 by NYSIPM, the Network for Environment and Weather App’s (delivers weather information from farm-based weather stations from Minnesota to New Hampshire to North Carolina and feeds it into ore than 40 pest forecasting and crop production tools. NEWA’s weather data summaries and IPM forecasts give farmers the best information to make scientifically based decisions about how to manage pests. NEWA is highly valued by New York fruit and vegetable growers, largely thanks to Keith’s diligence and expertise.

How did Mr. Eggleston help? He wrote the code for the IPM forecast models on NEWA’s website, newacornell.edu. Successful? Yes! These IPM tools work so well that NEWA expanded from around 40 to over 600 weather stations and from one state to 14. The pest forecasts help farmers in NY and other states predict when pests might strike and how severe the assault may be – saving them from both spraying and losing sleep.

Keith’s colleagues cheer his insights into the nuances of climate data and his eternal vigilance regarding bug fixes, stalled models, and metadata rescue. He has been called miracle worker, tech guru, and the glue that binds the NRCC to the NEWA. Keith Eggleston makes sure that users are happy and NEWA data and model outputs are of the highest quality.

NEWA’s Dan Olmstead

Dan Olmstead, NEWA coordinator, credits Keith’s understanding of programming languages, weather, climate, and the NEWA users themselves as the foundation of the collaborative success of the project. He adds, “Keith’s real strength comes from his endless patience, calm thinking, collaborative spirit, and tenacity—all of which creates synergy… NEWA continues to grow rapidly because the tools Keith built stand the test of time and end-user scrutiny.”

Art DeGaetano, director of the NRCC, concurs. “Among the scientists involved with NEWA, Keith is the trusted voice …concerning how a model should be implemented, the design of the model, or even the proper data to use, Keith’s respectful expertise is the catalyst for reaching common ground and achieving excellence.”

Eggleston has a unique perspective on agriculture—his father was a Vocational Ag teacher and FFA Advisor; he himself a member of the agricultural fraternity, Alpha Zeta, at Cornell University. “I have always had an affinity for agriculture and have found it very satisfying to be able to help develop models that will be useful in the farming community,” he said.

Congratulations Keith!

Keith and NYSIPM Director, Dr. Jennifer Grant

For more on our Excellence in IPM Winners, visit the NYSIPM Website.

Today’s post by Mariah Mottley Plumlee, mmp35@cornell.edu

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