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A new agriculture software platform co-developed by a Freeport nonprofit is expected to result in critical information about millions of acres of farmland by 2024.
The platform, OpenTEAM, is the first open-source technology system in the world to address soil health and mitigate climate change, according to a news release.
The platform was introduced this week by Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment in Freeport, along with founding collaborators Stonyfield Organic, USDA’s LandPKS project and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. OpenTEAM stands for open technology ecosystem for agricultural management. The platform will provide farmers and scientists around the world with higher-quality data to improve soil health, according to the release.
The tool is also expected to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Agriculture is the source of as much of 20% of the gases that cause global warming, according to OpenTEAM marketing materials. At scale, it’s expected that OpenTEAM can help farmers improve soil management practices so they reduce emissions and sequester more carbon.
“Optimizing soil management practices not only improves soil health, but also protects the environment,” Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s executive director, Sally Rockey, said in the release.
Currently, farmers use an expanding assortment of decision-making software, but the tools often don’t “communicate” with each other. That makes it difficult to transfer, share or use by farmers and scientists or in supply chains.
With OpenTEAM, its developers say, farmers can enter their own data and also access all of the collaborative’s tools.
Those tools include field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics and input and economic management decision support in a connected platform.
Wolfe’s Neck Center will coordinate OpenTEAM from its headquarters. Implementation and demonstration will begin this fall. Field-testing will continue in the 2020 growing season across the U.S. and international hub farm networks.
“At Wolfe’s Neck Center, we are collaborating to create solutions that address climate change through regenerative agriculture,” Dave Herring, Wolfe’s Neck’s executive director, said in the release. “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 Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, 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 Stonyfield Organic.
For more information on OpenTEAM or becoming an OpenTEAM partner, contact Dr. Dorn Cox at email@example.com.
Founded in 1952, Wolfe’s Neck is a 626-acre oceanfront educational farm open free to visitors every day. The nonprofit organization in Freeport is a working saltwater farm that includes hundreds of acres of forest, saltwater marsh, pasture lands, over four miles of Casco Bay coastline and an award-winning oceanfront campground. Educational programs include a summer day camp, Organic Dairy Farmer Research & Training Program, field trips, Farm School and a Teen Ag Program. It hosts annual barn dances and farm festivals as well as growing vegetables and pasture-raised chickens and lamb for the local community.
Founded in 1983 and located in Londonderry, N.H., Stonyfield Organic makes organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, frozen yogurts, milk and cream that are sold in supermarkets, natural food stores and colleges across the country. Its organic ingredient purchases support a network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows and over 200,000 organic acres.
LandPKS is a “Land-Potential Knowledge System” using mobile and web technologies that will allow the potential of land to be defined explicitly and dynamically for unique and constantly changing soil and climate conditions. Land potential assessments will be updated based on new evidence regarding the success or failure of new management systems on different soils. The knowledge engine, together with mobile phone applications and cloud computing technologies, will facilitate more rapid and complete integration of local and scientific knowledge into land management.
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, builds unique partnerships to support innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.