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Soil scientist David Brown named new AgWeatherNet director

Brown standing in front of AgWeatherNet field equipment.
Soil scientist Dave Brown, began his new role as director of AgWeatherNet on Nov. 16.

Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Washington State University soil scientist David Brown has been selected as the new director of AgWeatherNet, Washington’s agricultural weather network.

AgWeatherNet strives to help Washington growers and citizens understand and prepare for the challenges and changes that weather brings.

Brown, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, began his new role on Nov. 16, 2018, replacing director Gary Grove, who stepped down Nov. 1.

Experienced scientist and leader

A scientist at WSU for nearly 12 years, Brown brings statistical methods to the study of soil and crop sensing, soil biogeochemistry, and precision agriculture. His work helps people grow crops more sustainably while preserving natural resources.

A Fulbright Scholar, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and Peace Corps high school teacher in Fiji, Brown earned his doctorate in soil science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As incoming director, Brown will oversee all aspects of the 30‑year‑old AgWeatherNet, one of the largest and best automated agricultural weather station networks in North America. He also will enhance its use as a research tool for scientists and extension tool for faculty and industry.

“We are confident that our industry and research partners will benefit from David’s leadership skills,” said André‑Denis Wright, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS).

Brown adds considerable experience to AgWeatherNet in project and program leadership, agricultural research, data analytics and environmental sensing. He also has extensive knowledge of soil moisture sensors and distributed sensor networks.

“Thanks to increasing use of sensors and data science that help growers make decisions about their farms, we’re in the midst of a transformational change in agricultural production,” said Brown. “Working with WSU agricultural and environmental scientists, AgWeatherNet is well positioned to play a key role in this transformation for Washington producers.”

Wright thanked Grove for leading AgWeatherNet for the past three years.

“All of CAHNRS appreciates the time and dedication Gary has provided to this critical unit in advancing our service to the state’s agriculture industries and faculty research efforts,” he said.

About AgWeatherNet

At sites across Washington, WSU researchers have been recording weather data daily for more than 100 years.

Installing its first station in 1988, AgWeatherNet today brings together data from 176 automated stations, providing growers and residents with forecasts, crop and disease models, and many other decision-making tools.

Standard AgWeatherNet weather variables include air temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature, soil temperature at 8 inches, rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation and leaf wetness. Variables are recorded every five seconds and summarized every 15 minutes, providing a running record of weather that affects Washington agriculture.

Learn more about AgWeatherNet.

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