A COOPERATIVE effort between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the USDA, the World Agricultural Outlook Board, MSU, the Delta Research Extension Center, and Meteor Communications, Inc. has established a master receiving station communications facility on DREC's facility in the Stoneville area.

This master station uses meteor burst communication technology for data transmission. This method of transmission provides two-way, long range data communication, up to 1000 miles in all directions, by reflecting bursts of compressed data off the ionized trails left by micro-meteors as they enter Earth's atmosphere.

This form of data communication precludes the need for costly landlines. The Stoneville master station became operational September 20, 2000. This master station collects weather and soil data from numerous meteor burst weather stations within a 1000-mile radius. Mississippi has seven of these weather stations, including four in the Delta. Plans are underway for many more meteor burst weather stations throughout the agricultural areas of the U.S. The master station located at Stoneville will provide access to a tremendous amount of weather data from the Central Plains to areas in Mexico and the Caribbean. This data could then be disseminated for use by the public and private sector.

The World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) has hired Lee Crowley to fill the vacant Agricultural Meteorologist position in the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility (JAWF) Stoneville Field Office. Lee is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University (MSU) with a degree in Geosciences. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the WAOB operate JAWF. The Stoneville Field Office was opened in October, 1998, and is co-located with MSU's Delta Research Extension Center (DREC) Weather-GIS Data Center. The purpose of this office is to collect, quality control, and manage agricultural weather data and make it available to public and private sector analysts. Lee is looking forward to working with Delta farmers and researchers for many years to come.