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Friday, December 18, 2009

USDA's High Tunnel Study

Wow the USDA is giving us small diverse farmers a piece of the pie. I think Boulder Belt will have to look into this.

If you watch the video, those tunnels in the White House garden are NOT High Tunnels. Those are low tunnels made from row cover on small hoops. The USDA does not seem to know what a high tunnel is which is a bit worrisome but if they wanna give money to us farmers who have beem doing season extension on a small scale for well over a decade, than cool.

Subject: FW: USDA Release: USDA TO LAUNCH HIGH TUNNEL PILOT STUDY TO INCREASE AVAILABILITY OF LOCALLY GROWN FOODS

USDA TO LAUNCH HIGH TUNNEL PILOT STUDY TO INCREASE AVAILABILITY OF LOCALLY GROWN FOODS

3-Year Project To Verify Effectiveness Of High Tunnels In Natural Resource Conservation

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2009 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced a new pilot project under the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative for farmers to establish high tunnels - also known as hoop houses - to increase the availability of locally grown produce in a conservation-friendly way. Merrigan and other Obama administration officials highlighted opportunities available for producers in a video posted on USDA's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07vtMJgp0no, which shows high tunnels recently installed in the White House garden.

"There is great potential for high tunnels to expand the availability of healthy, locally-grown crops - a win for producers and consumers," said Merrigan. "This pilot project is going to give us real-world information that farmers all over the country can use to decide if they want to add high tunnels to their operations. We know that these fixtures can help producers extend their growing season and hopefully add to their bottom line."


The 3-year, 38-state study will verify if high tunnels are effective in reducing pesticide use, keeping vital nutrients in the soil, extending the growing season, increasing yields, and providing other benefits to growers.

Made of ribs of plastic or metal pipe covered with a layer of plastic sheeting, high tunnels are easy to build, maintain and move. High tunnels are used year-round in parts of the country, providing steady incomes to farmers - a significant advantage to owners of small farms, limited-resource farmers and organic producers.


USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide financial assistance for the project through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the EQIP Organic Initiative, and the Agricultural Management Assistance program. NRCS will fund one high tunnel per farm. High tunnels in the study can cover as much as 5 percent of 1 acre. Participating states and territories are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Pacific Islands, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

To sign up or learn more about EQIP assistance for high tunnel projects, contact a local NRCS office.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


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USDA News
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4 comments:

Flowers said...

Nice blog. Like the header image of your blog. It was nice going through it. Keep it up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Lucy- at about 3:43 in the video the man says that these are a small version of what they are offering. The program is for "high tunnels" as we know them.

seasonseatingsfarm said...

Maine has a total of 18 grants. My application is in but since I don't get extra points for being low income, socially disadvantaged or a new farmer, it's unlikely that I'll be awarded a grant.

My Edible Yard said...

Lucy - absolutely go and see if you an get money for this - take all the help you can get. Thank goodness they seem to be paying some attention now.