Severe weather season has arrived in the Southern United States. To help farmers and other rural residents better prepare for potentially damaging storms, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., is working in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to promote the use of NOAA Weather Radio receivers.

“Pioneer has always been a safety-conscious company and a company committed to helping our customers and the communities in which they live and work,” says Rick McConnell, president of Pioneer. “Pioneer works closely with NOAA to provide our customers with weather-related information through the Pioneer GrowingPoint magazine. Promoting the life-saving benefits of NOAA Weather Radio receivers is a logical extension of this effort.

“NOAA Weather Radio saves lives by notifying users of approaching storms, particularly when severe weather happens at night.” McConnell explains. “Rural residents are typically out of earshot of municipal alert sirens, and even in towns and cities, sirens may not effectively warn all residents.

“Weather definitely impacts our customers and their ability to manage their operations. Pioneer believes weather radios are an essential tool they can use to prevent injury and loss-of-life from severe weather and also a tool to help better manage their operations on a daily basis,” McConnell said.

Pioneer is promoting placement of weather radios in homes, farm shops, businesses and public facilities such as hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities and libraries through an informational campaign to customers, rural residents and employees. The company also is offering top-of-the-line programmable weather radio receivers for sale at a substantial discount through the company's Country Store Online.

More information on both a desktop and a hand-held portable weather radio is available by logging on to www.pioneer.com/growingpoint and accessing the Country Store.

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service (NWS) office.

NWR broadcasts severe weather warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard-alert information to the public 24-hours-a-day on seven public-service radio bands. Individuals wishing to receive NWR information need a radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal. In the case of severe weather, NWR receivers emit an alarm tone triggered by the NSW announcement or emergency information.

For added convenience, many NWR receivers also feature Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows them to be programmed to receive emergency information for a selected local area such as a county or area of a county. SAME technology prevents unwanted alerts for areas that do not pertain to the individual's location.

Today, NWR coverage reaches 90 to 95 percent of U.S. residents, including those in most rural areas and efforts are underway to reach 95 percent.

NWR provides a number of additional benefits in addition to weather alerts. Through efforts of the Federal Communications Commission's new Emergency Alert System, NWR is also an “all hazards” radio network, used to broadcast information such as AMBER Alerts plus disaster information including terrorism, tornadoes, flash floods, mud slides or hazardous materials spills.

Ag producers also can use the NWR continuous broadcasts of daily weather information in planning field operations, spraying, travel and livestock management during severe weather extremes of heat and cold. And because growers are always on the go, Pioneer is making a portable, hand-held weather radio receiver available as well as a fully programmable desktop model.

Weather radio receivers, and more information about their use, are available from Pioneer at www.pioneer.com/growingpoint http://www.pioneer.com/growingpoint or electronics stores across the country.