The Farmer's Almanac Turns 200

Twenty-first century weather technology isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Take The Farmer’s Almanac for instance, which is celebrating 200-years of weather predictions. The publication was started in 1818 in Morristown, New Jersey, by a gentleman named David Young. He didn’t have any radars or computers.

Sandi Duncan is The Farmer’s Almanac managing editor. She says Young came up with a set of rules to make his weather predictions.

"A set of rules that based a lot of calculations on what was going on in the sky both astronomically and mathematically. He didn’t reveal everything in his calculations except to other weather calculators over the history of the publication," says Duncan. "We have updated it somewhat, but still many of his suggestions and rules are in place."

Even today, there are no super radars or gee-whiz technology. The almanac’s long-range weather predictions are made by one guy with the formula.

"Our current weather calculator is our 7th weather calculator in 200-years, so when you get the position you hang out for awhile. He is a real person, however we decided to keep his true identity protected and secret so we have a pseudonym for him, he goes by the name of Caleb Weatherbee," says Duncan. "Pretty much we don’t use technology, we use this formula. And it takes things like sun spot activity, tidal action and moon, position of the planets, and a variety of other factors."

Duncan credits the longevity of their publication not only with weather forecasting, but everyday tips for farming, gardening, and living well.

Learn more about the Farmer's Almanac's 200th anniversary.