FAQ & Glossary
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is OpenTEAM?
Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management (OpenTEAM) is a community of farmers, ranchers, businesses and developers working to increase food system resiliency in the face of climate change. Together, we are equipping food system leaders with shared knowledge, collaborative frameworks, and open-source, connected technologies to not only build climate change resiliency, but to create communities that can thrive in the face of it.
What are OpenTEAM’s Shared Principles?
We endorse the following statements:
- Agriculture is a shared human endeavor and we have a shared interest in providing everyone the best possible, site-specific, and data-driven agricultural knowledge
- Agriculture is a public science, where we will collectively benefit by creating a pre-competitive space to more rapidly advance our shared understanding of food systems, agroecosystems, climate science, and relationships between soil health, and human health. (read more)
- A shared urgency exists in taking action to improve soil health globally and support continual improvement of ecosystem service delivery from farm and ranchland
- The majority of benefit and natural wealth creation should flow to those most directly engaged in the transformation of natural systems.
- Knowledge is co-created, and user-generated data should be shared as opt-in and controlled by those who created it.
- Pre-competitive contributions to OpenTEAM from each member will help pool knowledge, resources and capabilities in order to speed up the systemic challenges of farmer resiliency and ag data interoperability we seek to solve.
Who makes up the OpenTEAM community?
OpenTEAM is made up of a vast community of producers, researchers, businesses, and organizations. Hubs and network members make up the backbone of OpenTEAM. These farms and ranches will provide the social and technical infrastructure encompassing representative regional production systems in the U.S. to scale adoption of soil health management practices. Hubs will be the primary locations for field testing OpenTEAM, and once the platform is ready for wider release, they will serve as ambassadors to help build the on-farm user network. Network members will also play an integral role in testing the technology and platform as it is developed, but will have a more informal role in platform development with fewer reporting requirements.
What is provided for Hub and Network Members that have joined the OpenTEAM community?
- Access to a shared agricultural technology toolkit
- Engagement in a peer-to-peer and cross-collaboration network
- Strengthened research opportunities and datasets
- Protocols that protect user-owned data and data sovereignty
- Cohesive field methods for soil health testing
- The opportunity to share their journey with their customers and throughout the community
How can I become a Hub or Network Member?
How does OpenTEAM get work done as a community?
OpenTEAM is structured into four distinct working groups.
- The Field Methods Working Group aims to bridge science with the available tools to create a versioned and flexible, tiered approach to field methods protocols that will support the needs of farmers/ranchers, researchers and markets.
- The Hub and Network Working Group brings together representatives of participating Hubs and Network farms and ranches with the researchers, developers and companies involved in OpenTEAM in order to facilitate communication across these communities of practice and ensure that Hub and Network members have access to the information and technical resources they need regarding their participation in OpenTEAM.
- The Human Centered Design Working Group focuses on creating internal and external social feedback and design processes for the OpenTEAM community.
- The Technology Working Group identifies opportunities for co-development, prioritizes them into work packages, and builds the necessary elements to support the interoperability of various technological tools within the OpenTEAM community.
We also work together through our Collabathons and as partners on various grants.
What organizations are already a part of the OpenTEAM community?
Visit the OpenTEAM Community page to see the profiles of the technology organizations that are within OpenTEAM. This page will continue to be built out, adding in profiles of Hubs.
What tools are a part of the OpenTEAM suite of technology?
OpenTEAM employs a number of in-field measurement tools, as well as economic and decision support tools. Specifically, OpenTEAM utilizes FarmOS, Our-Sci’s Survey Stack, the Land Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS), Quick Carbon, and OpTIS to enable location specific data on soil, climate, vegetation cover, and topography alongside observational and management records. COMET-Farm and Cool Farm Tool are used to quantify on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.
What methodology does OpenTEAM employ for soil health measurements?
An in depth look into our field methods can be found here.
What is FarmOS?
FarmOS is a web-based application for farm management, planning, and record keeping. It is developed by a community of farmers, developers, researchers, and organizations with the aim of providing a standard, open source platform for agricultural data collection and management. OpenTEAM hubs will be using FarmOS to manage production records and agricultural research data.
What is Our-Sci?
Our-Sci is a collaborative research platform that utilizes open source tools to create customizable surveys, collect data, and report and share results. Our-Sci’s expertise and knowledge on agricultural systems is vital to OpenTEAM’s operating systems. OpenTEAM is utilizing Our-Sci’s SurveyStack application as a customizable data collection tool to create surveys that can be directly integrated into FarmOS.
What is LandPKS?
Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) is a simple free and open source software tool and mobile application developed by USDA/ARS that supports land use planning and management. It includes modules that allow non-soil scientists to (a) determine the sustainable potential of their land (LandInfo), (b) monitor the health of their land (LandCover and SoilHealth), and (c) record management activities (LandManagement). The 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, facilitate more rapid and complete integration of local and scientific knowledge into land management.
What is Quick Carbon?
Quick Carbon is a growing academic research initiative and protocol for rapidly assessing soil carbon contents across landscapes. Quick carbon creates an accessible measurement system that empowers individuals to generate reliable soils carbon data for the purpose of ecological understanding, decision making, and markets. By providing an inexpensive avenue for measuring soil carbon contents, Quick Carbon allows for researchers to collect hundreds of measurements across landscapes.
What is COMET-Farm?
COMET is the official greenhouse gas quantification tool of USDA. COMET-Farm, and earlier versions of COMET, was developed through a partnership between NRCS and Colorado State University. COMET-Farm uses information on management practices on an operation together with spatially-explicit information on climate and soil conditions from USDA databases (which are provided automatically in the tool) to run a series of models that evaluate sources of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration. By integrating NRCS SSURGO database and site-specific climate data, locality-specific results are presented to COMET-Farm users.
What is Cool Farm Tool?
The Cool Farm Tool is an online calculator that enables farmers to measure their greenhouse gas emissions, and understand mitigation options for agricultural production. Originally initiated by Unilever. The CFT greenhouse gas emissions calculator is based on empirical research from a broad range of published data sets and IPCC methods. The tool calculates emissions estimates from: • N2O emissions based on an empirical model built from an analysis of over 800 global datasets. These datasets refine IPCC Tier 1 estimates of N2O emission by factoring in the guiding drivers of N2O emissions such as rate of N applied, soil texture, soil carbon, moisture and soil pH.
What is OpTIS?
Dagan, a spin-off of Applied GeoSolutions, has developed a system for operational mapping of tillage practices and cover crops over wide areas. The Operational Tillage Information System, or OpTIS, produces spatially comprehensive maps of crop residue cover and cover crops annually using information integrated from multiple earth-observing satellites. Accurate, timely, and spatially comprehensive information about the dynamic state of tillage practices and cover crops across large regions is valuable for several purposes.
What does Open source mean?
Open source, and what that means for our community, refers to a publicly accessible software or hardware tool design that can be modified and shared by all of its users. This allows the tool to be designed, inspected and enhanced by multiple contributors. It ensures technology is accessible and collaborative, but not always free. Nor does open source mean open data.
Building open source tools allows for more control, increased security and stability, additional training opportunities, and the foundation of communities centered around collaborative design.
Is there a glossary of OpenTEAM terms?
Yes, a glossary of OpenTEAM terms and definitions can be found here.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is a holistic, place-based approach to farming and food that prioritizes a healthy environment. Building on Indigenous understandings, skills, and philosophies that have been passed down over generations, regenerative agriculture restores ecosystems, communities, and economies to ensure resiliency. It builds healthy soils, reduces air pollution, conserves water, and increases biodiversity while supporting farmers’ ability to produce food for their community.
Regenerative agriculture is a collaborative effort that requires cooperation and partnership among stakeholders to build healthy, sustainable, and resilient food systems. While practices are farm and region specific, there is a commitment to shared principles to achieve long-term outcomes. These principles include:
- Minimize soil disturbance
- Maintain living soils year round
- Keep soil covered
- Maximize crop diversity
- Integrate livestock
Some examples of common practices include managed rotational livestock grazing, use of cover crops, and minimal soil disruption. These practices require knowledge-sharing and collaboration among farmers to effectively implement and maintain them, and an educated consumer base to help support.
What is soil health?
Soil health is an assessment of how well soil performs all of its functions now and how those functions are being preserved for future use. Soil health cannot be determined by measuring only crop yield, water quality, or any other single outcome but is evaluated through indicators.
Indicators are measurable properties of soil or plants that provide clues about how well the soil can function. Indicators can be physical, chemical, and biological properties, processes, or characteristics of soils. They can also be morphological or visual features of plants.
How is adaptive management in agriculture integrated into the OpenTEAM platform?
Adaptive Management is a process of continual improvement by adjusting “action” based on high frequency observations and data driven analysis rather than by expert opinion, best practice recipe or prescription. It requires a high level of system understanding and observation, analysis and communications feedback.
What is the agroecosystem model?
A model for the functionings of an agricultural system, with all inputs and outputs. An ecosystem may be as small as a set of microbial interactions that take place on the surface of roots, or as large as the globe. An agroecosystem may be at the level of the individual plant-soil-microorganism system, at the level of crops or herds of domesticated animals, at the level of farms or agricultural landscapes, or at the level of entire agricultural economies.
What is an ecosystem service marketplace?
Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits that humans freely gain from the natural environment and from properly-functioning ecosystems such as air and water quality, habitat, aesthetics and recreation. A marketplace quantifies and creates markets based on the change over time in those services.
The glossary contains definitions of terms that are commonly used throughout OpenTEAM documentation. In addition to this searchable index, glossary terms can be seen throughout the OpenTEAM website in the form of hover-over tooltips, and the full list can be viewed here.
Submit a new term
If you would like to suggest a new term for the OpenTEAM glossary, please use the following form.