A free webinar on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at 12:00 pm EDT featured key insights from researchers using data from the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) to help model water quality. Attendees also had an opportunity to participate in a live question-and-answer segment with the panel of experts.

Speakers during the live, hour-long "OpTIS 3.0: Unlocking Water Quality Insights" program included:

  • Dr. Asmita Murumkar of The Ohio State University will discuss how she and colleagues from American Farmland Trust are using OpTIS data on tillage and cover crops in their modeling work in Ohio's Upper Scioto River watershed and Maumee basin. 
  • Soren Rundquist of Regrow Ag will provide updates on cover crop trends from 2015 to 2021, derived from Regrow’s proprietary and recently improved OpTIS algorithm, which utilizes publicly available satellite imagery to track tillage practices and cover crop adoption around the globe. 
  • Dr. Dave Gustafson of the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) will detail innovative uses of OpTIS data to quantify the relative effectiveness of cover crops and conservation tillage at reducing phosphorous loads to Lake Erie.

An intuitive visualization tool on the CTIC website (ctic.org/OpTIS) allows users to explore OpTIS data, zooming in on watersheds of interest and moving sliders to vary the date range they want to study. OpTIS data are available free on the site at the HUC 8 watershed or Crop Reporting District (CRD) level. Aggregated OpTIS data can be accessed regionally through CTIC, while finer resolution data can be obtained by contacting Regrow directly.

“Since its introduction in 2019, OpTIS has provided agronomists, researchers, agribusiness professionals, conservation groups, policy makers and more with a cost-effective and efficient way to measure adoption trends of soil health practices and their impact on the environment over large geographies and many years,” says Shamitha Keerthi, science director for The Nature Conservancy's North America Agriculture Program.

“We are constantly learning how these data can be used to drive conservation practice adoption, assess environmental outcomes, and track the impacts of policy.” 

Additional past OpTIS webinars are archived online at ctic.org/OpTIS. 

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The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) is a national non-profit that brings together farmers, policy makers, regulators, academic researchers, agribusiness leaders, conservation group personnel, farm media and others. CTIC connects, champions and informs its members, partners and the general public in support of sustainable agricultural systems and technologies that are productive, profitable and preserve natural resources. CTIC is supported in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, farm commodity groups, agribusiness companies, and conservation organizations. Visit www.ctic.org and follow on Twitter (@ctic_tweet), Facebook and LinkedIn.

Ranked Fast Company's #1 Most Innovative Company in Agriculture for 2023, Regrow Ag is the most trusted independent provider of Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) software and sustainability insights for agriculture. Regrow’s best-in-class SaaS platform leverages satellite data, machine learning, and robust soil modeling to quantify on-farm GHG emission baselines, reductions, and removals, including soil carbon sequestration. With technology approved by the Climate Action Reserve and aligned with programs approved by SustainCERT, Regrow is the only provider that can support organizations on the entire journey from assessing and taking action to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, to reporting credible, certified ESG outcomes, to scaling solutions globally. Some of the food and ag value chain’s leading companies, including Cargill, General Mills, and Kellogg’s, have chosen Regrow as their partner for implementing regenerative agriculture programs to meet their corporate climate goals. Learn more at www.Regrow.ag

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow us on Twitter at @nature_press.

Funding for OpTIS has been provided over more than 10 years by multiple grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a past grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), as well as matching funds from Bayer CropScience, DuPont Pioneer, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC), Monsanto, The Mosaic Company, J.R. Simplot Company, Syngenta, the Walmart Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, TNC and others.

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