OpTIS 4.0

CTIC has partnered with Regrow and The Nature Conservancy on the development, testing and application of the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), an automated system to map tillage, residue cover, winter cover, and soil health practices using remote sensing data. While OpTIS calculations are performed at the farm-field scale using publicly available data, the privacy of individual producers is fully protected by reporting only spatially-aggregated results at regional and watershed scales.

OpTIS-based data are currently available for the years 2015 through 2021. The Version 4.0 dataset released in September 2023 uses updated algorithms for croplands in all lower 48 states (CONUS). Both the OpTIS and DNDC pages include charts and maps to further enhance identification of trends and opportunities to promote the adoption of conservation practices. The OpTIS data are available for Croplands and a companion product is now available for Grasslands, for the same geography (CONUS) and time period (2015-2021). As with previous releases, all data are undergoing various forms of peer review and may be updated in the future.

Some of the organizations that have supported the development of OpTIS have included USDA, NASA, Bayer, Corteva, Enterprise, Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, Howard G. Buffet Foundation, John Deere, Monsanto, The Mosaic Company, The Nature Conservancy, Simplot, Soil Health Partnership, Syngenta, Walmart Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation. 

Data Release Date: September, 2023

Data Provider: Regrow | License

How does it work?

Both the Croplands (OpTIS) and Grassland systems produce spatially comprehensive maps of tillage, crop residue cover, winter cover, and soil health practices using information integrated from multiple earth-observing satellites. Click either of the links below for detailed reports on the Croplands (OpTIS) or Grasslands methodology.

Satellite-Driven-Data-for-Climate-Smart-Ag logo

OpTIS Webinars

Hosted by CTIC

OpTIS 4.0:
New National Baseline Data
for Climate Smart Ag
September 27, 2023

Description: Featured speakers:

  • Allison Thomson (Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research)
  • Rob Manes (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Soren Rundquist (Regrow Ag)
  • Debbie Reed (Ecosystem Services Market Consortium)
  • Dave Gustafson (Conservation Technology Information Center)


OpTIS 3.0:
Unlocking Water
Quality Insights
April 26, 2023

Description: Featured speakers:

  • Asmita Murumkar (The Ohio State University)
  • Soren Rundquist (Regrow Ag)
  • Dave Gustafson (Conservation Technology Information Center)


High Level Insights
on Cover Crops
April 29, 2022

Description:Featured speakers:

  • Roderick “Rod” Rejesus (North Carolina State University)
  • Soren Rundquist (Regrow Ag)
  • Dave Gustafson (Conservation Technology Information Center)



Hosted by The Nature Conservancy

OpTIS 2.0:
New Data, Regions,
& Insights
June 16, 2021

Description: The Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Technology Information Center, and Regrow Agriculture share the latest expansion of the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) data. Guest speakers include: Linda Prokopy, Ph.D., Purdue University; Margaret Jodlowski, Ph.D., Ohio State University; and Ian Crawford, Sustainability Manager, Simplot Agribusiness.

Mining Diamonds from
Soil Carbon Data
October 16, 2020

Description: View the hour-long webinar recording from Oct. 16, 2020. This is the second webinar in our OpTIS series. This webinar focuses on how a variety of users are employing the DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) model with data from the OpTIS tool to estimate the influence of soil-health-building practices on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics. Run through DNDC, the OpTIS data set provides deep insights into the environmental effects of conservation agriculture practices at watershed and landscape scales.

Using Satellite Imagery Data to Understand Trends in Conservation Agriculture Practices
May 29, 2020

Description: A webinar on OpTIS (Operational Tillage Information System), an automated system that uses satellite imagery data to understand trends in conservation agriculture practices.


Informational Animation

New Data Drives Conservation Solutions
April 10, 2020

Description: The Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) uses satellite imagery to track annual trends in tillage and cover crop adoption, yielding data that can assist scientists, policy makers and carbon trading managers. Learn more at nature.org/OpTIS.