Monday, December 28, 2009

USDA to launch Hoophouse pilot study

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

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 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, 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.

Read more and watch video.

Johnny's has many of the tools and supplies needed to help you take advantage of this program.

2 comments:

ROBERT said...

i inquired about this program from my district NRCS agent here in north georgia. He told me he had heard nothing more than what you have prsented so far. this contact was made jan 4th 2010. he did say to go ahead and contact your local farm services agency to get on their books. can you provide any further info.? thank you, robert lowe

Farmer's daughter said...

I have been working on a hoop house that works for four years in my little garden plot. I can tell you any serious snow or freezing rain and those hoop houses will collapse. I used landscape hardware fencing and wire tires to link my hoops (4 ft across), cover them with ?6ml painter's plastic and put tarp zippers in the side. I covered my crops with agrabon and am actually growing Johnny's Allstar mix in addition to cold tolerant greens at 41st lattitude in Rhode Island. I have pictures on my Facebook page but can't figure out how to show them to you.