NRCS Announces Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative
For More Information:
Amber Carson, Acting Public Affairs Specialist, 701-530-2099
Jennifer Heglund, Assistant State Conservationist (Programs), 701-530-2095
BISMARCK, ND ï¿½November 8, 2011 ï¿½North Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering a new initiative to help producers extend their growing season in an environmentally sound manner. The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is a nation-wide initiative providing financial assistance for high tunnels through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
High tunnels are unheated, non-permanent structures made out of metal pipe with a plastic cover. Unlike greenhouses, where crops are generally grown in pots or on benches, high tunnel crops are grown directly in the soil.
ï¿½RCS is excited to offer the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative to North Dakota producers,ï¿½said State Conservationist Mary Podoll. ï¿½ clear advantage of this initiative is that it will help producers extend the timeframe they can grow produce. This longer production season will translate into more locally grown produce being available for longer portions of the year.ï¿½
Seasonal High Tunnels offer numerous conservation benefits to producers. Through the High Tunnel Initiative, producers can address local resource concerns by improving plant quality, improving soil quality, reducing nutrient and pesticide transport, improving air quality through reduced transportation inputs, and reducing energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce.
In addition to their conservation benefits, high tunnels are important tools for growing food locally and improving the economy. High tunnels allow producers to extend their growing season and sell their products locally. This emphasis on local production and distribution will help to strengthen the local economy and help ensure the viability of small farms.
ï¿½e encourage all farmers and ranchers to contact their local NRCS service center to learn how they can qualify for financial assistance through the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative,ï¿½said Podoll. ï¿½RCS looks forward to partnering with producers to bring fresh produce to local markets.ï¿½
Producers interested in learning more about the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative are encouraged to visit their local NRCS Service Center or visit www.nd.nrcs.usda.gov. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. Funding will occur periodically through June 2012.
If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Mary Podoll, please call Amber Carson at 701-530-2099 or email Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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