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January 20, 2010   Email to Friend 

EQIP STUDY TO OFFER ASSISTANCE ON HIGH TUNNELS
Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
January 20, 2010

High tunnels offer a way to extend growing season for vegetables and other specialty crops.
AUBURN, Ala. -- A new pilot project now available for farmers under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) seeks to increase the availability of locally grown produce by offering assistance on constructing high tunnels or "hoop houses."

According to State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, sign-up for the three-year conservation study is now under way. Application deadline is Jan. 29.

Only vegetable crops grown directly in mineral soils are eligible. Crops grown hydroponically or in pots/containers above ground are not eligible. The seasonal tunnel structure must be planned, designed and constructed in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendation.

A high tunnel is a greenhouse-like structure, at least 6 feet in height and made of ribs of plastic or metal pipe covered with a layer of plastic sheeting.

"High tunnels offer an option to extend the growing season for vegetables and other specialty crops for personal or commercial use," said Puckett.

High tunnels also may offer particular advantages to small, limited resource and organic farmers by extending the crop growing season, improving soil and plant quality and addressing soil and water concerns.

For information, producers can visit their local NRCS field office listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.




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