About GOAT

—— JUNE 7 – 10, 2020 ——

The technologies that produce our food and the data about our food system should be public, and enable control by the farms and farmers that produce it. Together, we can collectively address the problems which prevent the creation of advanced, high quality open technology and its adoption.


Information about our food system should be public or easy-to-share. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Food is currently produced by a mix of private and public entities, and information about our food system can be opaque, hard-to-find, or proprietary and farmers may have limited control of the on-farm data they generate or ability to improve the tools they use.

Agricultural startups are often venture-funded, with interest veering toward capitalizing on farm data. Controlling such data, not just machines or sensors, is considered the most valuable game in town (at least in the short term). Closed data ecosystems hinder our ability to produce food equitably and sustainably and support farm level decision support.

Fortunately, there is also significant interest in creating open source hardware and software to increase transparency in the food chain, allow for data sharing among groups, and engage the public and make the benefits of shared data available to all. Though the number of projects is growing, they tend to be small, isolated within universities or small companies, and disconnected from one another. The result is duplication of efforts, hard to find projects, and disconnected parts producing incompatible data. The lack of coordination means that as technology rapidly changes, closed-source companies are locking up the machinery, sensors, data, and varieties of the future.

The Goals of GOAT

Coordinate existing development – there are many organizations working on open ag software and hardware today with overlapping interests. Let’s get together! Let’s talk about building software together BEFORE we spend time and money, not after!

Invite new development – Let’s make a place where newcomers can easily find developers and users with overlapping experiences. People evaluating open vs closed ag software/hardware should find a thriving, engaged community which can make their work easier, faster, and better.

Aligning technology and actual users – Finding people to try, test, break, and give feedback on new technology is hard but critically important to making technology relevant and useful. By bringing users and developers together with open lines of communication, we can increase the utility of open technology in ag across the board.

Creating a GOAT Roadmap – If we collectively have a plan, then we can all contribute more effectively. Let’s reduce duplication of efforts, focus on common areas we all need, and put the effort of contributors into a broader context for funders so they can see the big picture.

GOAT 2020

GOAT 2020 is a 3 day gathering of diverse developers and users of open ag technology.


GOAT 2018 images

 —–APPLY NOW! —–
Applications close March 14


For the motivations behind GOAT, see the About GOAT page.

The Gathering for Open Ag Tech community has grown a lot since our first gathering in 2018. Here’s some updates from the last 2 years:

  • GOATs have organized several biddy GOATs (smaller events) in 2018 and 2019, including USDA ARS, Bionutrient Food Association, and Techstars.
  • A major initiative emerged in part from connections/collaborations from GOAT called OpenTEAM. OpenTEAM is organizing and funding major collaborations between open ag tech developers, farmers, and entities in the supply chain.
  • The GOAT forum is thriving, with sub-forums for FarmHACK, OpenTEAM, and the Real Food Campaign.

The community has made huge progress and is creating multi-year plans for collaborations and integrations – yay! So this year, we want GOAT to focus on building friendships between our wonderful and diverse community, and looking hard to find new faces in new places.


The 2020 conference will be held at the beautiful Omega Institute, an hour and a half train ride north of New York City. Arrive via NYC airports and take the train or rent a car, or it is within driving distance of most of North East.

Applications open – January 28, 2020
Applications  due – March 14, 2020
Full program available – May 1, 2020
Conference – June 7 – 10, 2020


The 2020 conference will be held at the beautiful Omega Institute, an hour and a half train ride north of New York City. Arrive via NYC airports and take the train or rent a car, or it is within driving distance of most of North East.

The Omega Institute
150 Lake Dr
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Picture of the Omega Institute

Who should apply?

We are looking for anyone actively involved in developing and using open technologies in agriculture. Specifically, we are looking for developers (programmers, engineers, designers, etc.) and active users (practitioners, farmers, researchers, etc.) of technology. Technology is broadly defined, and includes both traditional hardware and software, but also mechanical tools (tractors, implements, etc.) and any domains relating to the creation of that hardware (intellectual property + open licenses, data management, model development, etc.)

GOAT welcomes international applicants from all regions. Unfortunately, our limited resources prohibit us from providing travel reimbursements or visa sponsorships to international attendees. If you know of additional funding or resources that could help us accommodate more international applicants, please let us know! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our organizing committee if you have questions regarding your travel arrangements. We’re hoping to expand our reach in future GOAT conferences to bring more voices from the global ag-tech community into the herd.

What is the cost?

We have 3 tiers of conference cost, all of which includes 3 meals and lodging for 3 days at Omega Institute. You can specify in the application the amount you can afford, and travel support will be available for those who need it. We have limited funds for full travel support, but we are committed to ensuring that accepted applications can afford to attend the conference.

  • Full cost-applicant (e.g., folks with funding from industry, gov, academia): $350 registration
  • Reduced cost-applicant (e.g., folks with limited funding): $225 registration
  • Need-based no-cost applicant: $0 registration
  • Need-based no-cost applicant (US only): $0 registration + I need travel support

Can I get involved before the conference?

Yes! Go to the forum at forum.goatech.org and post your questions. You can also find discussions around GOAT and related groups in the open ag space, so definitely check it out.

If you have ideas or suggestions on programming (speakers, activities, nearby locations to visit, etc.) that you think are a great fit, please post about it! We are still actively setting the program and activities.

Who is organizing GOAT 2020?

The organizing committee for GOAT 2020 is:

Ankita Raturi, Purdue University
Dorn Cox, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
Greg Austic, Our Sci
Jamie Gaehring, farmOS
Juliet Norton, Purdue University
Michael Stenta, farmOS
Rian Wanstreet, University of Washington

If you are interested in supporting or sponsoring GOAT 2020, please contact: goatech.org@gmail.com.