A High Tunnel System, commonly called a “hoop house,” is an increasingly popular conservation practice for farmers, and is available with financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). With high tunnel systems, no summer is too short or winter too cold because high tunnels:
Extend the growing season
Improve plant quality and soil quality
Reduce nutrient and pesticide transportation
Improve air quality through reduced transportation inputs
Reduce energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce
High tunnels protect plants from severe weather and allow farmers to extend their growing seasons – growing earlier into the spring, later into the fall, and sometimes, year-round. And because high tunnels prevent direct rainfall from reaching plants, farmers can use precise tools like drip irrigation to efficiently deliver water and nutrients to plants. High tunnels also offer farmers a greater ability to control pests and can even protect plants from pollen and pesticide drift.
A number of soil health practices can be used in high tunnels, including cover crops and crop rotations, which also prevent erosion, suppress weeds, increase soil water content, and break pest cycles.
Contact your county Farm Service Agency for your tract and farm number. Applicant will need to furnish proof of ownership and plat of property. Once this is done, a farm number is created that could be used for program benefits when enrolling in programs such as the United States Department of Agriculture USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Farmers who would like to sign-up for the hoop house should visit or call the NRCS office at a local USDA service center. USDA NRCS service center locations are listed on the USDA website at www.nrcs.usda.gov.
The construction of Petersville Farm Hoophouse was completed December 2017. The vendor used was ATLAS Greenhouse.