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MAINE BULLETIN NO. ME 450-11-3

 

                                                                                                            November 15, 2010
 

Subject: TCH – Section IV of eFOTG

Purpose. Announcing revisions and additions to Section IV of eFOTG.

Expiration Date. September 30, 2011

A revised Interim Conservation Practice Standard Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops (Code 798), Network Diagram and a new Job Sheet have been issued under Section IV – A. Interim Standards to eFOTG.

Background. The use of Interim Conservation Practice Standard Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops have applicability to all farms. It also offers particular advantages to small limited resource organic farmers by extending the growing season which produces higher quality crops, improved yields and addresses soil and water quality concerns. Many producers have requested to add fans, heaters, and roll up sides as features that would improve function and efficiency. The Interim Conservation Practice Standard Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops has been revised to relax the restrictions on electrical, heating, and mechanical ventilation systems. This revision is applicable to previous facilities planned and installed.

Explanation. The new Interim Conservation Practice Standard Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops Definition reads: “A seasonal polyethylene covered structure that is used to cover crops to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner.” This will provide the opportunity for those producers who want to add the additional electrical, heaters, double layer plastic and ventilation systems to do so at their own expense. This change in the Definition should have no impact on current payment schedules. The Criteria for the Interim Conservation Practice Standard remains unchanged. If the addition of electrical or mechanical equipment adds to the structural requirements of the structure, it is up to the producer to fund the higher-cost structure. The Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops must still be a manufactured kit, as stated in the Criteria. NRCS is not to design structural components to facilitate integrating electrical or mechanical systems into the structure, and will not share on the cost of a stronger structure to support electrical or mechanical systems.

Contact. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Alice Begin, Resource Conservationist at 207-990-9568 or email alice.begin@me.usda.gov.



/s/  Juan C. Hernandez

JUAN C. HERNANDEZ
State Conservationist
 


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