Statewide weather monitoring system running out of funds, legislature tables plan

Nebraska lawmakers have tabled a bill that would’ve helped fund the statewide weather monitoring system, which provides data to researchers and farmers.

State Senator Tom Brandt says the system, known as the Nebraska Mesonet, needs additional funding and a strategic plan due to decline in weather stations. “A lot of entities use this information. Think of your agronomy department, the co-op, seed dealer or anyone that works outdoors. It gives you critical information on what has happened and what is happening.”

Brandt, Senator Myron Dorn and representatives from the University of Nebraska would like to add more stations, ensure it’s providing relevant data and has a long-term path for growth.

Brandt, a farmer, said he had one of the systems on his farm and the data could be sent immediately to help make crop management decisions. “It’s rain gauge. You’ve got a wind speed and direction gauge.  You have a barometer built into that. You have soil temperature gauges and it has plots in there for bare soil, covered soil and rangeland.”

The bill, co-sponsored by Brandt and Dorn, would’ve provided $1 million over two years with additional funding from UNL despite budget cuts over the last several years.

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