Weather affects us all. But, weather perhaps effects none more so than agriculturalists, whose crop management choices are strongly influenced by predicted environmental conditions. Yet the weather data and general forecasts available to agricultural producers are no better than that which is reported by the local news media. Although many regions do have government-subsidized weather tracking and measurement systems, many farmers lack requisite access to real-time site-specific data.
The State of North Carolina's Advanced Weather Information System (AWIS) program is software innovation that allows farmers access to high quality real-time weather information, including but not limited to wind, temperature, and precipitation data. It provides farmers with past, current, and future weather data, as well as crop growth related information. The software can be used to inform decisions regarding crop inputs and cropping patterns, and other farm - management strategies. AWIS software is continually updated as new information and technology become available, which, combined with the software's comprehensive weather-summary output capability, add to the system's utility.
Program participation rose from ten in the first year of development to four-hundred by year two. A 1995 North Dakota State University study reported that improved weather information projects like AWIS have provided an economic benefit of fourteen million dollars annually.