Dairy processor Stonyfield Organic is founding collaborator of new soil health, climate change platform
The platform, OpenTEAM, is projected to provide quantitative feedback on millions of acres of farmland by 2024.
Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, together with founding collaborators Stonyfield Organic, the USDA's LandPKS project and Foundation for the Food and Agriculture (FFAR), announced the launch of OpenTEAM, the first open-source technology ecosystem in the world to address soil health and mitigate climate change. OpenTEAM is projected to provide quantitative feedback on millions of acres of farmland by 2024.
OpenTEAM, or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is a farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health, the organizations said.
Currently, farmers are faced with an ever-expanding assortment of decision-making software; however, these tools often do not “communicate” with each other, making it difficult to transfer, share or use by farmers and scientists or in supply chains. With OpenTEAM, farmers are not only in control of their own data, but also able to enter data once to access all available tools in the OpenTEAM collaborative.
OpenTEAM offers field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics and input and economic management decision support in a connected platform that reduces the need for farmer data entry while improving access to a wide array of tools, the organizations said. The platform will support adaptive soil health management for farms of all scales, geographies and production systems. OpenTEAM will also accelerate scientific understanding of soil health by providing more high-quality data to researchers collaborating on the project.
To date, more than one dozen organizations have joined to develop, fund, and implement OpenTEAM. These include The Soil Health Partnership; General Mills; Colorado State University/USDA-NRCS Comet Farm; Applied GeoSolutions, LLC; DNDC Applications, Research and Training; Dagan Inc.; Michigan State University Global Change Learning Lab; Purdue University Open Technology and Systems Center (OATS); University of British Columbia Center for Sustainable Food Systems; Regen Network; Our.Sci; Quick Carbon at Yale F&ES; U.S. Cover Crop Council decision tools; Sustainability Innovation Lab at Colorado (SILC); The University of Colorado Boulder; and FarmOS, the organizations noted.
Wolfe’s Neck Center will coordinate OpenTEAM from its Freeport, Maine, headquarters on more than 600 acres of conserved landscape and farmland. Implementation and demonstration will begin in fall 2019. Field testing will continue in the 2020 growing season across the United States and international hub farm networks.
“At Wolfe’s Neck Center, we are collaborating to create solutions that address climate change through regenerative agriculture,” said Dave Herring, executive director, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment. “OpenTEAM pairs agriculture with open-source technology to accelerate soil health right here in Maine and around the globe.”
The more than $10 million public-private collaboration is made possible by a $5 million grant from FFAR, with more than $5 million matching contributions coming from across the network, including a $200,000 grant from The Stonyfield Foundation and $200,000 in in-kind contributions and a grant from Londonderry, N.H.-based Stonyfield Farm.
“Stonyfield is strongly committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Britt Lundgren, director of organic and sustainable agriculture for Stonyfield Organic. “Over half of our emissions come from agriculture, so in order to hit our target, we know we need to work with the farms who provide our ingredients and help them reduce their emissions and sequester more carbon. OpenTEAM will enable us to do this, and track farms’ progress so we can be confident we’re hitting our goals.”