New Hoop House Initiative: On Wednesday, December 16, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the launch of a three-year study on the effectiveness of high tunnels (sometimes called hoop houses) on the conservation of natural resources. The study will verify if high tunnels are effective in reducing pesticide use, extending the growing season, increasing yields, and the retention of nutrients in the soil. The Natural Resource Conservation Service will be providing assistance by funding one high tunnel per farm in the participating 38 states. Funding is through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
To see a high tunnel be placed in the White House garden click here. To find out if your state is participating in the high tunnel study, click here. If you are in one of the 12 states that has not yet opted to participate in the pilot, there is still time for your NRCS state office to decide to opt in, but they need to move quickly. If you would like to see your state participate and it is not currently opted in, call the state office and press your case.