Kentucky NRCS' First Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Seasonal Hi
Rickie Bernard from Russell County, contacted NRCS requesting information on the EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative with hopes that he could expedite his tomato production in the Spring and extend his growing season in the Fall. Rickie, his wife Jacqueline, and son John Wendell have been raising tomatoes for seven years and have been very successful.
NRCS District Conservationist Jason Miller assisted Rickie with the application and then the Bernard's waited to hear about the final approval. While waiting, Rickie studied about high tunnels and decided to pre-order a 30 by 96 foot manufactured kit. He was so anxious to get started that he began construction the same day he heard he was approved for funding. Within four days the high tunnel was completed and within seven days tomato plants were in the ground.
Rickie is the first producer in the State of Kentucky to construct a NRCS high tunnel. Within the high tunnel, he now has five rows averaging 70 plants per row. According to Rickie, he estimates the high tunnel will enable him to produce approximately 40-50 pounds per tomato plant. This motivated producer and his knowledge of vegetable production will be a model for other producers whose goal is to extend the growing season.
Submitted by Jason Miller, District Conservationist, Adair & Russell Counties
For information on the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative visit: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/programs/?&cid=stelprdb1046250