Imperial and Riverside counties in California are participating in a three-year, 38-state USDA pilot project to determine if high tunnels are effective in improving water efficiency, managing pests, reducing pesticide drift, and providing conservation benefits to growers.
Growers in the two counties may apply for the pilot project through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices in El Centro and Blythe. Successful applicants will receive approximately half the cost of one high tunnel per farm through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the EQIP Organic Initiative. Applications for 2010 must be received by Jan. 15, 2010, or by Jan. 31, 2010 if the operation is under organic production or transitioning to organic production.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the new pilot project under the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative for growers to establish high tunnels to increase the availability of locally grown produce in a conservation-friendly way.
“There is great potential for high tunnels to expand the availability of healthy, locally grown crops — a win for producers and consumers,” Merrigan said. “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.”
For more information, click here.
Source: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service