Skip Navigation

Seasonal High Tunnels

Agricultural producers can apply to receive financial and technical assistance from NRCS.  High tunnels allow participants to extend the growing season, increase crop yields, conserve water, reduce pesticide use, and maintain vital soil nutrients.  Funding is offered under both the Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

What is a high tunnel?

Inside a high tunnel at Windmist Farm, Jamestown, RI.High tunnels (also known as hoop houses) are structures that modify the growing climate, allowing for tender, sensitive, and specialty crops like certain varieties of vegetables, herbs, berries, and others to grow where they otherwise may not.  High tunnels are constructed of metal bow frames with wood framed ends, at least six feet in height, and are covered with one or two layers of polyethylene.

Why high tunnels?

High tunnels can lengthen the timeframe for local marketing of produce, which increases sustainability while lowering energy and transportation inputs.

An extended growing season and steady income may offer advantages to small, limited resource, and organic farmers. They can also assist producers transitioning to specialty crops.

What will AMA and EQIP pay for?

NRCS provides financial assistance for high tunnels through the AMA and EQIP programs.

Plants must be planted in the ground or in permanent raised beds, not containerized.

Since water runoff from high tunnels can cause erosion, pooling, and other environmental concerns, additional conservation practices may be installed as a condition for the installation of a high tunnel. These include:

  • runoff management
  • filter strips
  • drain structures for water control
  • critical area planting

Additional practices that might be considered as part of your conservation plan include nutrient management and integrated pest management, cover crop, and conservation crop rotation.

What are the practice payment rates for high tunnels?

NRCS provides financial compensation for part of the cost of establishing and maintaining conservation practices that improve the natural resources on your land.  Financial assistance payments are provided to eligible producers based on a portion of the average cost associated with practice implementation.  Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for a higher practice payment rate for the implementation for conservation practices and conservation plans.