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

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

By Dan Olmstead and Julie Carroll

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,, 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