sealPurdue News


July 1995

Purdue-OSU 'Ag Answers' available via computer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Farmers facing difficult decisions can now have advice from university researchers delivered to them automatically through a Purdue University-Ohio State University project called "Ag Answers."

The two institutions are the only universities in the United States that have teamed up to offer agricultural research news, farm production advice, expert market analysis and agricultural event information to farmers via electronic mail.

The news items are sent out via electronic mail or are posted on the World Wide Web as often as three times a week, and each distribution consists of four to six news nuggets plus an updated calendar of ag events in Indiana and Ohio.

Amy Raley, electronic news systems writer and coordinator of the Purdue-Ohio State program, says the service is available to anyone who wants to subscribe. "Anyone who has an e-mail account can receive Ag Answers," she says. "All they have to do is send an e-mail message to saying they want to subscribe, and they will be added to the electronic distribution."

Purdue and Ohio State do not charge for the service, Raley says, but she cautions anyone interested in subscribing to first investigate whether their computer service such as CompuServe, America-On-Line, or Prodigy has additional charges for receiving Internet e-mail.

Ag Answers also is available on the World Wide Web, which has links to additional information about Purdue and Ohio State agricultural research, plant and pest diagnostic laboratories in the two states, and general information about the universities. The World Wide Web site allows users to search for news stories by typing in a keyword. The address for the World Wide Web site is:

The computer services allow Purdue and Ohio State to fulfill their traditional role of research extension in a high-tech way that provides immediacy. University researchers and Cooperative Extension specialists such as agronomist Bob Nielsen of Purdue use the service to deliver time-sensitive information to the public.

"The information goes to the whole agricultural community, from growers to seedsmen to fertilizer dealers -- and beyond," Nielsen says. "We have the opportunity to get out information that's very timely and address concerns or make predictions."

For example, when wet weather this spring delayed planting of corn in the Midwest, Nielsen and Ohio State agronomist Peter Thomison issued advice on when farmers should consider switching to short-season corn hybrids or consider switching from corn to soybeans.

"Because we can send out information so quickly, we were able to tailor the advice based on the two- to three- day weather forecasts for different areas in each state," Raley says. "This information could have meant a difference of tens of thousands of dollars for many farmers."

Sources: Amy Raley, (765) 494-6682; Internet;
Bob Nielsen, (765) 494-4802; home: (765) 743-2973; Internet:

Writer: Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809; home, (765) 463-4355; Internet:

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To receive this news release via e-mail, send a message that says "send punews 9506f6" to Purdue News Service also maintains a searchable data base of faculty experts and posts news releases on a web server at and a gopher server at The web site also offers selected downloadable photographs.

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