DES MOINES, Iowa - In preparation for the upcoming severe weather season, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are once again promoting the benefits of NOAA weather radio receivers. Through an awareness program started by Pioneer in 2003, more than 1,500 Pioneer customers and other rural residents now own potentially life-saving NWR receivers.

The company began promoting NWR receivers last spring and selling them at a substantial discount through the company’s Country Store on the GrowingPoint Web site – www.pioneer.com/growingpoint. Last year, 940 desktop and 658 hand-held weather radios were purchased via the Country Store.

In support of the awareness program, a few Pioneer sales representatives ordered radios to give away within the communities where they live and work. Don Munson, Pioneer sales representative from Arcola, Ill., bought nearly 30 NWR receivers and offered them to his local church, school, library and several customers.

“I thought the radios made a useful gift that someone might not go out and purchase, but everyone should have,” remarks Munson. “Nearly everyone I gave a radio to said he or she had been meaning to get one or needed a new one to replace an older model.”

“Pioneer has always been committed to helping rural residents and their communities,” says Dean Oestreich, president of Pioneer. “The company has been a part of rural America for generations. That is why we feel it is our duty to promote the life-saving benefits of NOAA Weather Radio receivers to individuals that live in rural America, where other warning systems may not reach residents efficiently.”

Oestreich said that even in towns and cities, sirens may not effectively warn all residents. NWR receivers, however, can save lives by notifying users of approaching severe weather, particularly at night.

Pioneer encourages customers, rural residents and employees to place NWR receivers in their homes, farm shops and businesses. As part of this effort, Pioneer will continue to offer top-quality, programmable desktop and hand-held NWR receivers at a substantial discount on the company’s Country Store on the GrowingPoint Web site.

A username and password are required to gain access to the GrowingPoint website. Pioneer customers can obtain that information by contacting a Pioneer sales representative or calling 1-800-233-7333. Misplaced or forgotten login information can be obtained the same way. Non-customers of Pioneer can gain access to the Country Store online by completing a registration form on the GrowingPoint website.

“In addition to preventing injury and loss of life, weather radios can help Pioneer customers better manage their operations by alerting growers to potentially damaging rain, hail and winds,” Oestreich elaborates.

Continuous daily weather broadcasts from NOAA also provide information that helps growers manage their livestock operations for extreme heat or cold and their field operations for ideal application conditions.

With more than 850 transmitters covering 50 states, NWR continuously broadcasts weather information from the National Weather Service, which can reach more than 90 percent of U.S. residents. In addition, NWR broadcasts natural and technological hazards, including severe weather warnings, watches and forecasts 24 hours a day on seven public service radio frequencies.

A NWR radio receiver or scanner is required to pick up the radio signal and receive the NWR information. In case of severe weather, NWR receivers are triggered by the National Weather Service to emit an alarm. NWR also now broadcasts information from the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Alert System, such as AMBER Alerts, terrorism alerts or hazardous material spills.

One of the features of the new NWR receiver models is the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology. With SAME, users can program radios to receive emergency information for a selected area, such as a local county or an area of a county, thus preventing unwanted alerts.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com