After receiving nearly 3,000 applications for seasonal high tunnels, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) obligated $13 million in fiscal year (FY) 2010 for 2,422 seasonal high tunnels in 43 states.
Seasonal high tunnels are structures made of plastic or metal pipe and covered with plastic or other sheeting. Easy to build, maintain, and move, they provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season. Unlike greenhouses, they require no energy, relying on natural sunlight to modify the climate inside to create favorable conditions for growing vegetable and other specialty crops.
NRCS offered the seasonal high tunnels (officially called “seasonal high tunnel system for crops”) as a conservation practice for the first time in FY 2010 as part of a three-year trial to determine their effectiveness in conserving water, keeping nutrients in the soil, increasing yields, and reducing transport of agricultural pesticides. The table below shows the states that obligated funding for the high tunnels FY 2010.