The 2017 NEWA user survey: understanding grower impact, needs, and priorities

This is part one in a six-part blog series discussing 2017 NEWA survey results of users and non-users. Download the full report to learn more.

Survey background and justification

NEWA is an online decision aid system providing fruit and vegetable growers with IPM risk assessment model results based on local weather and forecast data. First established in 1996 by the New York State IPM Program at Cornell University with 22 weather stations, the current NEWA web platform, newa.cornell.edu, was launched in 2009; informed by a 2007 survey of NEWA users and non-users.

The success of the NEWA platform paved the way for significant expansion in the ensuing 10 years. NEWA now includes over 650 weather stations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Upper-Midwest US. At the time of this post, there are 14 partnering states with membership support from land-grant institutions and grower associations, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A 10-year follow up survey was completed in 2017 to gather NEWA user and non-user demographics, measure IPM impact, determine current and desired user needs, and assess the overall NEWA user experience. Collected data is informing a NEWA redesign planned for 2019 to best address grower preferences, capitalize on new internet technologies, accommodate mobile devices, and deliver attribution to and resources from partner states.

Survey objectives included the following:

  1. Measure the IPM and financial impact of NEWA.
  2. Understand the demographics of NEWA users and potential new users.
  3. Determine the utility of current website content, desired new content, and assess user experience. 

Survey implementation

Survey questions about user demographics, website content needs, and user experience were drafted by Olmstead, Carroll, and NEWA State Coordinators with final review by Cornell Survey Research Institute. To provide a 10-year perspective on NEWA’s impact, a subset of questions from the 2007 survey was repeated in the 2017 survey.

Next up: Understanding IPM impact among NEWA users

NEWA is awarded USDA grant to improve website

The NEWA website will soon undergo a significant upgrade funded by a USDA Agricultural Research and Development Program Grant awarded to NYS IPM, which is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell University. This $198K grant provides important resources to deploy a website that responds to your device screen size, improves user experience, and adds important data quality measures for the NEWA online decision aid system.

The upcoming web redesign will also integrate capability to provide regional attribution for NEWA partners and weather station owners. It will also link growers to respective partner resources throughout the network for improved IPM decision support. Data quality control of variables such as precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, and solar radiation, coupled with improved communication methods with weather station owners will be built to further improve the reliability of NEWA.

NEWA users in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin will soon have a website experience that provides a new level of continued accuracy and reliability for research-based IPM risk assessments and recommendations.

To download a full press release, visit http://newa.cornell.edu/uploads/documents/2018_USDA_NIFA_NEWA_release.pdf

This work was funded through grant number 2017-70006-27210 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Crop Protection and Pest Management, Applied Research and Development Program.

NEWA annual reports are available to the public

NEWA publishes a yearly report for stakeholders. These summaries document NEWA IPM extension to New York State growers along with other users served by NEWA partners. NEWA is a program of the New York State IPM Program which is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

A complete listing of annual reports is available here:

Click here for a list of NEWA annual reports

Each NEWA report includes an annual summary of the following:

  • operation and maintenance
  • geographic expansion
  • web use statistics
  • outreach
  • existing model upgrades
  • new model development
  • grants, projects, and initiatives
  • publications

Twenty-one NEWA annual reports are available for download, beginning in 1996 when NEWA was established by NYSIPM. Reports are published in January of each year.

Join our email list to be notified when the 2018 report is released.

Stay informed about NEWA. Click here to get regular updates.