Thanks to a public-private partnership, Marshall county, S.D., has a new weather station. The station, sponsored by Full Circle Ag of Britton, reports live weather and ag data as a part of the statewide network of weather stations maintained by South Dakota State University.

Joe Gustafson, location manager at Full Circle Ag, which is a full-service ag retailer with several service centers, is credited with seeing the need for agricultural weather monitoring in Marshall county. He contacted Nathan Edwards, network manager, to see what options were available. Full Circle Ag became a station sponsor, covering the annual cost of operating the station.

A goal of South Dakota State University’s Weather Network is to have one weather station per county in the state. The network of weather stations is the state's source for live and local weather with weather reports issued several times per hour. General weather information is accessible to the public.

The agricultural industry benefits from tools related to irrigation scheduling, planting, chemical application, evaluation of soil conditions, etc. A continuous data feed to the National Weather Service is used for forecasting and is critical to their weather warning operations. Additionally, the stations also help in drought monitoring as well as flood forecasting. The stations measure: temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, sunshine, soil temperature and rainfall.

Sponsorships like that of Full Circle Ag are essential to the ongoing operations of these stations. Edwards said, "We can't do this alone."

Edwards went on to explain that the agriculture industry is a big user of the network service and that it has a popular resource of the “Ag Weather” tool on the site.

To utilize this weather tool, persons simply visit climate.sdstate.edu. Selecting a station and dates will yield a daily breakdown of ag weather variables for an entire season or part of it.

For those decisions that need to be made on the spot with what information is available from the cab of a pickup, tractor or applicator, the mobile web site is available at climate.sdstate.edu/mobile and provides current conditions, recent history, forecasts and any warnings that might be in effect.