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Posted on August 26, 2021 at 9:10 AM by Allan Warren
Pierce Conservation District
High Tunnel Systems are extending the growing season and improving farming.
Photo source (NRCS website, 2021).
Blog by Rocio Miller on July 21, 2021
The Benefits of a High Tunnel System.
High Tunnel Systems are an energy-efficient way to start producing crops earlier and grow all season. Whether the grower has vegetables or flowers, having a high tunnel system provides a shelter that improves the plant’s health and vigor and also improves soil health. It eliminates damage to crops because it provides a shelter that protects plants from weather, pests, pesticide drifts, and wildlife. High Tunnel Systems are not permanent structures and can be moved if needed, as they are simple to assemble and disassemble. They are made of steel and covered in polyethylene plastic, or fabric and they are semi-circular, square, or elongated in shape. The Plants can be grown directly in the ground or on raised beds. High tunnels are a structure with a reasonable price tag that require minimal maintenance- providing all those benefits to farmers. They help farmers produce diverse crops such as leafy greens, vegetables, blueberries, cherries, and grapes. Also, by increasing yields, farms can provide more food for local communities year-round.
There is no more waiting for the start of the season to find those yummy blueberries; when you have a high tunnel system, you can have them anytime.
Photo source: Rolling Rocks & Clarks Creek Facebook page.
Local Pierce County farmers are implementing high tunnels systems to provide year-round organic foods for communities.
Farms such as Rolling Rocks in Graham & Clarks Creek Farm in Puyallup have implemented high tunnel systems with the support of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide organic food to the local communities of Washington. Rolling Rocks & Clarks Creek Farms have seen firsthand the benefits of installing a high tunnel system. Not only are they providing more healthy food to the community, but their yields are increasing- providing financial stability the farms need to continue their production year-round. Rolling Rocks & Clarks Creek Farms also play a significant role in conserving natural resources and farmland due to their sustainable farming practices. Implementing new farming methods such as high tunnels, allows them to continue to provide food for future generations.
Photo source NRCS website.
Learn how NRCS helps farmers implement High Tunnel Systems with their High Tunnel System Initiative Program.
A High Tunnel System, commonly called a “hoop house,” is an increasingly popular conservation practice for farmers and is available with financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) (NRCS,2021). So, if you are a farmer looking to implement High Tunnel Systems on your farm, NRCS has all the support you need to make it happen. Also, PCD can provide information on who to contact at NRCS to help you with the process.
NRCS Resources links:
High Tunnel System Initiative: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/programs/?cid=stelprdb1046250
Washington EQIP High Tunnel Initiative: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/wa/programs/financial/eqip/?cid=stelprdb1262761
Growing all Season High tunnel systems: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/organic/?cid=nrcseprd1364702
NRCS High Tunnel Q/A: https://www.bootstrapfarmer.com/pages/nrcs-high-tunnel-initiative?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6NmHBhD2ARIsAI3hrM1Cm-TuHmq6QA644Irub_vEzWy_w09SUhmA2oGov5iZ07dnleE7HRgaAoy6EALw_wcB
Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/initiatives/?cid=nrcs142p2_015532
Rolling Rocks & Clarks Creek Farm links:
Rolling Rocks & Clarks Creek Farms - Home | Facebook
Clark's Creek Farm | Eat Local First
For more information or questions about PCD programs, please contact PCD, or click on the link below.
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