• 23Dec

    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.

12 Responses

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  • Scott Ottinger Says:

    I’m very interested in the hoop house initiative but unfortunately it is tied in with other programs in our county such as soil errosion and water quality. The larger farms are recieving the monies before they’re getting down to people such as myself who are trying to esablish themselves and become more self sufficient. And the money they are recieving isn’t even going to a hoop house. I’s a good idea but I think there shoould be low maximum acreage qualifications to help people such as myself and others I know of that can’t get the help but would like to.

  • Taylor Says:

    Thanks Scott. Yes NRCS administers both conservation programs and the federal hoophouse program, but to my knowledge there is no requirement that you have to participate in CRP or any other conservation program to get a hoophouse grant. Talk to your NRCS agent and read the literature on their website.

    I do totally agree that all of these bureaucratic institutions are easier to deal with for larger farmers who have more time to spend on these things and tend to be more familiar with them. Sadly the top 10% of farms get over 80% of farm bill program $. But my suggestion would be: don’t be intimidated by the paperwork. Fill out what you can and send it in. And don’t be afraid to pester your NRCS agent. they should be there to serve you, just as much as they are to serve the 1000 acre farm down the road. I know it doesn’t always work this way, but the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

    I know a number of smaller farmers (20-40 acres) who got hoophouse grants. Unfortunately allocations are left up to local agents, and it sounds like yours might be favoring large growers if the smaller folks are putting in requests and not receiving them, in which case I wouldn’t hesitate to go over their head and talk NRCS administrators about this problem at the state or even the federal level. That’s not an agency mandate.

  • Lawrence Says:

    Let me know when agricultural agencies (fed and state) ever do anything real for the small farmer …and if all they can do is fund overseas projects and Big BroFarma at least do me a favor and stop the nonsense paper chase….as per Federal law and not your bureaucratic spin on the hoop & rules.
    I think the legislature just re-passed another ‘version’ of the paper reduction law..

  • Taylor Says:

    Lawrence, I love your passion.

  • Marie Jardine Says:

    I live in a Rural Disadvantaged community which consists of 70% elderly and handicapped. 16 veterans. Cherry Creek is 55 miles to our County seat, Ely, Nevada. We have no community facility for emergency food storage, nutrition, education, or public meetings. Our community is very interested in hoop gardens as a sustainable food resource. Approximately 10 individuals are interested. I expressed interest with White Pine County and USDA and have never been contacted again. Where and how do I get these people signed up?

  • Taylor Says:

    You need to contact your local USDA NRCS office about the hoophouse program. If that doesn’t work, try national. This is a government program so there is going to be some bureaucracy, you just need to keep pestering people until you get the info you need. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

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