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High Tunnel Press Kit

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Seasonal high tunnels are plastic-covered structures that enable farmers to have crops ready earlier or later in the season. In high tunnels, plants are grown directly in the ground, and the sun’s heat regulates the temperature inside.

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NRCS offered seasonal high tunnels as a conservation practice for the first time in 2009 as part of a three-year trial to determine their effectiveness in conserving water, improving soil health, increasing yields, and reducing transport of agricultural pesticides. NRCS continues to provide outreach, technical, and financial assistance for high tunnels. Since 2009, through NRCS, USDA has provided assistance to help producers build over 9,825 high tunnels on farms around the country.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, a Farm Bill program that offers financial assistance to farmers and ranchers, enables producers to install conservation tools like the high tunnel. Under EQIP, the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to help producers extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.

This initiative may assist producers in addressing a resource concern by: improving plant quality, improving soil quality, reducing nutrient and pesticide transportation, improving air quality through reduced transportation inputs, and reducing energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce. High tunnels are a key part of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates USDA’s work on local and regional food systems.

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Download “High Tunnels Press Kit” (PDF, 181 KB)

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