As agtech entrepreneurs beaver away at getting real-time information and data in the hands of farmers with the latest technology, two television stations are have teamed up to deliver farmers what they say is North America’s most accurate seven-day forecast.
The Forecast, which will air on RFD-TV each evening and throughout the following day, also allows RFD-TV viewers to access customized weather news and forecasts in real time from The Weather Channel, while teaming up both organizations’ expert meteorologists.
The new forecast will combine RFD-TV’s “vast knowledge” of the variety and needs of worldwide agriculture with The Weather Channel’s “unmatched” technology and production abilities, to help farmers make everyday decisions, according to a press release.
“As two networks that focus on information primarily affecting rural America, RFD-TV and The Weather Channel have discussed a partnership for quite some time,” Julie Mankin, RFD’s VP of public relations, told AgFunderNews. “Dave Shull of The Weather Channel and Patrick Gottsch of RFD-TV got together and made it happen. The idea is to utilize our respective assets to benefit rural Americans.”
Each report will debut during RFD-TV’s Rural Evening News and run once an hour the following day in RFD-TV’s award-winning Market Day Report, an agribusiness news program that airs from 9am to 2pm.
“RFD-TV and The Weather Channel would like to provide support for American farmers,” Mankin added. “Those who produce our food will bear the brunt of the demand to feed what is expected to be a population of 9 billion people by 2050. That will come from advances in genetics, but also management practices. The most accurate weather information is key to helping them do their job to the best of their ability.”
Some farmers that AgFunderNews spoke to said the service would have little impact on their operations. But others in the industry had a more positive take.
“This is a good tool for farmers and ranchers,” Jeffrey Geider, director of the Institute for Ranch Management at Texas Christian University, told AgFunderNews. “Accurate forecasts are always a bit tricky, but weather reporting directed to the farm and ranch community could be very useful.”
Charles Shinn III, director of government & community affairs for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, told AgFunderNews that it needs to be done correctly to be helpful.
“It is important not only to give agriculture up-to-date weather information from multiple perspectives but also to inform the viewing public that are not involved in agriculture about how the weather impacts agriculture relating to their food, fiber, and fuel,” he said. “It will work if TWC does not sensationalize the information—something that they are prone to do—to the point that the grower just turns it off and goes back to his/her other sources.”
RFD-TV is available in nearly 50 million homes across America, and the channel’s research indicates that more than 65 percent of all farmers and ranchers watch RFD-TV on a regular basis. Updates will also air on Rural Radio (SiriusXM channel 147), and be available through digital means including the Country Club on rfdtv.com and on mobile devices through RFD-TV’s new app. Plans are also underway to provide even more in-depth weather news to farmers and ranchers via digital and other technologies as they develop.
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