Tag Archives: growers

The 2017 NEWA survey: current and potential users

This is part two 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

Who uses NEWA?

75% of all NEWA users are growers and 10% are extension educators. Of the growers, 60% manage diversified farm operations. The size of their farms ranged mostly from 11 to 1000 acres (57% of respondents), with a small proportion (4%) managing farms greater than 1000 acres, and 20% farming 2 to 10 acres. Among non-users, the majority of respondents (44%) farmed less than 10 acres.

What do NEWA users produce?

Most NEWA users surveyed grow apples (46%); other tree fruit (37%); grapes (34%); berries (25%); and tomatoes (25%). A majority produce two or more commodities; 23 other commodities not supported by commodity-specific NEWA tools were reported by NEWA users (Table 1).

NEWA currently provides fruit and vegetable tools, whereas the survey results show users produce other commodities. Therefore, additional NEWA tools for field crops, livestock and ornamentals are needed, as well as for other fruit and vegetables not covered. Users who manage diversified operations will benefit from NEWA tools in these production areas and an interface that displays the results for several models simultaneously.

Future growth opportunities

Of the 331 survey respondents, 151 do not use NEWA. A majority (59%) of non-users indicated a lack of awareness when asked why they don’t use NEWA. Another 25% responded by saying they don’t know how to use NEWA. Coordinated effort to increase NEWA awareness is needed. Educational resources, workshops, and presentations would help recruit NEWA users who could benefit from its impact on improving their IPM practices.

Geographic representation

Up next: NEWA IPM impact


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, 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

Who is using NEWA?

The NEWA online survey closed January 31. So what did we learn? I’m taking a closer look at all 397 responses over the next few weeks to better understand user needs and preferences for the NEWA website. Here is a first-look at survey results.


We asked for feedback about website functionality, features and impact to evaluate and improve the usability and functionality for growers, NEWA’s the primary users. Sixty-seven% of all respondents self-identified in this category.

Farm size

Eighty percent of grower participants reported average farm area of less than 100 acres. Seventeen percent of growers indicated a farm size of great than 100 acres.


Fruit was the most commonly reported commodity among growers, followed by vegetables. A majority of growers focus on single commodity production (55%) but a strong minority (45% have diversified operations, working in two or more commodity categories.

What does this mean for NEWA?

NEWA needs to provide flexibility in the way tools are accessed by growers at newa.cornell.edu. Smaller diversified operations need easy access to fruit and vegetable tools at the same time with minimal time investment. Both small and large single commodity operations need targeted access to specific tools without having to sort through other unrelated models or resources.