Update on USDA Hoop House Pilot Program
July 26th, 2010
In December, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched a 3-year pilot program to provide cost-share funding to farmers who want to extend the growing season on their farms by using high tunnels (sometimes referred to as hoop houses). Read NSAC’s last update on the program.
A big ‘thank you!’ to all the NSAC member groups around the country who promoted and did outreach on this initiative. Your work is bearing fruit (and vegetables)!
As of July 22, there are 2,307 high tunnel/hoop house contracts worth $12.5 million! Glen Elsbernd, an organic, beginning farmer in Winneshiek County, Iowa will receive assistance from the EQIP Organic Intitiative to install a 3o foot by 72 foot hoop house this fall.
“It[the hoop house] will help me get an early start on the growing season and a higher quality crop,” Elsbernd said. “The high tunnel will also give me a head start on the competition.” Read Elsbernd’s story.
The date for states to opt into the NRCS Seasonal High Tunnel Pilot Program closed on January 29 with 43 states (Arizona joined late), including Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, choosing to participate.
Wisconsin currently leads the way in total number of contacts, followed in order by Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Iowa, Alabama, and Vermont, rounding out the top ten.
In terms of total dollars, Alaska leads the way, followed by Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Missouri, Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Alabama, rounding out the top ten.
Some contracts are still being finalized, so the final number and dollar amount for the pilot program in 2010 will still go up some, but we have high tunnels by state with contract totals to date.