Final Report for ES12-112

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $99,736.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Jim Lukens
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
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Project Information

Abstract:

Ten separate trainings on organic and high tunnel production methods were held in four different states (Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana) for NRCS, cooperative extension, farmer mentors and other agricultural service providers.  Trainings included both classroom and on-farm presentations. Over 240 individuals participated in the events. 

Project Objectives:

The overall goal of the project is to equip NRCS, Extension and other agricultural professionals with the tools and resources to provide effective technical support to producers whose farming systems include organic vegetables and/or high tunnel production and those who want to transition to these production systems.  Specific objectives include:

  1. At least 210 agricultural professionals in three states (70 professionals in each state of Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana) will participate in trainings offered through this project. 

  1. Participants will gain improved understanding of the principles and the practices of organic farming systems and high tunnel production. Lessons to be taught will include, but not be limited to, principles of diversity and holistic systems; and practices to build soil health, control pests, produce healthy crops and conserve resources; emphasizing the differences in how this is done in a high tunnel vs. in the open field.

  1. Participants will take home tools and resources that can be readily accessed to gain further knowledge about these farming systems. This will include user-friendly electronic and hardcopy materials on organic practices, high tunnel production, research and resources, and related NRCS programs that they can easily share with others or refer to when called upon to provide needed technical information to area producers.

  1. Participants will gain improved capacity to deliver technical assistance to producers seeking to develop economically viable farms using organic and/or high tunnel production systems. This capacity will be gained by utilizing the information presented in the training and in the take-home materials.

  1. Participants will be better able to help more farmers gain access to USDA farm programs that are right for them because of information and resources about organic and high tunnel production that they gain through these trainings.

  1. Southern SAWG and project collaborators will gain improved understanding of where further training is needed in order for NRCS and Extension agents to better serve new client farmers using organic and/or high tunnel production systems.

 

Introduction:

Demand for organic produce continues to soar in the United States, creating substantial market opportunities for existing and new farms. (Klein. 2008. Thoughts from the Tractor Seat. MOFFA Quarterly, Spring 2008.)  The dollar value of organic food sales exceeded $24 billion nationwide in 2009, and continues to grow at a rate higher than most other market segments.  Organic fruits and vegetables now represent 11.4 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales. (Organic Trade Association. 2010. Organic Food Facts.)

In the 13-state southern region, there are now over 1,800 farms certified organic. (USDA NASS. 2010. 2008 Organic Production Survey.)  An increasing number of new farmers are looking into developing organic enterprises throughout the southern region. At the same time some conventional farms are seeking to transition into organic production. As an example, Appalachian Sustainable Development (VA) has facilitated the development of a cooperative of farmers who have converted from conventional tobacco to organic produce. (Personal communications, 2011.)

 Production capacity of today’s organic farms lags behind demand, partly because farmers have limited access to information and technical assistance tailored to organic production. (Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. 2008. Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill.)  Current and aspiring organic producers need better information resources and technical assistance. (Sooby, Landeck & Lipson. 2007. 2007 National Organic Research Agenda. Organic Farming Research Foundation, Santa Cruz, CA. 74 pp.)

Meanwhile, greater demand for local and organic farm products has pushed many horticultural producers to extend their production season in cost-effective ways.  High tunnels (or hoophouses) are one of the most exciting new tools available to them.  “It’s hard to overstate the importance of a hoophouse to a small-scale vegetable and flower farm. The benefits are so significant that we believe a hoophouse should be one of the first things you buy when starting a small farm.” (Growing For Market, 2010. Hoophouse Production.)  Hundreds of producers have attended recent workshops and conferences on high tunnel production in our region (although most trainings do not serve the needs of agricultural professionals, especially NRCS personnel).  This shows a growing farm segment in need of on-going technical assistance.  

The USDA has responded to this production trend by instituting programs to meet some of the needs of organic farms and those using high tunnel systems.  The 2008 Farm Bill increased the mandate for NRCS and FSA to provide effective service to organic producers. (Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. 2008. Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill.) Changes in the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Conservation Loan program, and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation all offer increased benefits to organic farmers.

Two new aspects of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) have created a greater need for NRCS personnel to better understand and work with organic producers.  The EQIP Organic Initiative provides assistance for conservation practices for organic producers and those transitioning to organic.  EQIP also offers cost share assistance for producers erecting seasonal high tunnels.  In the first year of the cost share program available through NRCS, 499 farms in the southern region received funding for high tunnels. (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, July 2010. Update on USDA hoop house pilot program.) 

This trend towards organic and hoophouse production has created a desire by local USDA and Extension agents to increase their knowledge about these systems so they can feel confident in providing farm-tested and science-based information to the farmers they serve.  Since these programs have been instituted at USDA, Southern SAWG has received multiple requests from extension and NRCS personnel to provide training and resource materials. 

For instance, John Lee, NRCS State Agronomist (AR) says there is a great need for training in Arkansas that will help agents understand the practices that are required for organic certification by transitioning organic farmers, so agents can tailor assistance to the farmers’ needs. (Personal communication, 2011.)  According to Shannon Weaver, Assistant State Conservationist (AL), one of the reasons that Alabama requested more training sessions from Southern SAWG is because they want to get agents out on real organic farms, and hear from organic farmers and researchers who can address questions about organic and hoophouse production for the agents. Southern SAWG does this.  (Personal communication, 2011.)

 

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Mark Cain
  • Chris Coreil, Jr.
  • Chris Coreil, Jr.
  • Josh Hardin
  • Pamela Kingfisher
  • John Lee
  • Mark Schonbeck
  • Eric Schwab
  • Andrew Williams
  • Karen Wynne

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

This project built on a series of very effective trainings in VA, TN, AL, AR, NC, SC and MS that Southern SAWG conducted for NRCS and Extension agents in 2009-12 through SARE-funded projects. 

 While this project built on the earlier trainings cited, it was also refined based on feedback from past participants, and more targeted in each state based on our deepening communication with NRCS and Extension leaders.  Because of the relationships we have established, Southern SAWG trainers and project leaders have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by NRCS and Extension personnel in serving clients who are using organic practices, are transitioning to organic, or are new to high tunnel production.

 We conducted a total of 10 trainings for NRCS, Extension and other agricultural professionals – two each in AL, AR, KY and LA.  The Arkansas events were 2 day trainings while events in the other states were one day trainings.  Each event consisted of both classroom instruction followed by a ½ day of training at a diversified organic farm using high tunnels. 

Classroom instruction was provided by a team of three trainers, each with a strong track record of providing effective instruction.  Dr. Mark Schonbeck (independent consultant) and Mr. Jim Lukens (Southern SAWG Staff)  provided science-based instruction on the principles and practices of organic production.   Mark Cain, operator of a successful organic farm in Arkansas for over 25 years, provided instruction on the practical applications of organic and high tunnel production techniques.  Andrew Williams, retired Alabama NRCS Outreach Liaison,  provided instruction on soil solarization and applying the principles and practices of organic and hoophouse production when working with farmers enrolled in, or seeking to be enrolled in, specific USDA programs. 

Organic production topics covered included principles of organic and holistic farming systems; building soil health and fertility; crop diversity and crop rotation; drip irrigation; weed, pest and disease management; certification; marketing; and maintaining economic viability.  High tunnel topics covered included advantages & disadvantages, designs, costs, suitable crops, best practices, seasonal usage, and maximizing income.  The information was framed in a way that helped agents understand how their expertise (on resource management, production issues, etc.) and how government programs they work with fit these new client farmers’ needs. It also helped agents understand what information they may need beyond their current expertise.  PowerPoint presentations with key points illustrated by farm photos, as well as hands-on demonstrations complemented the presenters’ verbal instruction.

On-farm instruction illustrated and elaborated on the principles and practices covered as much as was practicable based on each individual farm site.  The host farmers provided much of the instruction on the farms, augmented by the classroom trainers.  

A library of take-home resources, including Southern SAWG’s interactive Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing in the South CD-ROM, two DVD’s from Southern SAWG’s Natural Farming in the South video series (Organic Horticulture #1 and #2) were provided to each course participant as well as a thumb drive that contained all classroom presentations and an abundance of supporting information. 

Training events were promoted through NRCS and Extension Service communication networks.  Participation at the events varied from a low of about 15 participants to a high of nearly 40 participants.

The training was designed to expand the expertise of participating agents so that they could provide effective technical assistance to new constituents – current, transitioning and aspiring organic farmers, and farmers developing high tunnel production systems.    

All but 12 of the 242 participants completed both pre and post training surveys to give us a better grasp of the effectiveness of the training.  In addition, phone surveys of several participants in the Louisiana trainings were conducted about 8 months after the actual trainings to determine if the knowledge gained at the trainings had been shared with producers interested in high tunnel and/or organic production.

Outreach and Publications

This project did not result in any specific publications.  The focus was on direct training to service providers and all participants received a resource packet that included two previously published DVDs from Southern SAWG’s Natural Farming in the South video series (Organic Horticulture #1 and Organic Horticulture #2), one previously published CD-ROM (Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing in the South) and a thumb drive with all the training presentations and supplemental information.   Below are the basic agendas for the one day and two day trainings and our pre and post training surveys. 

One Day Training Agenda

ORGANIC HIGH TUNNEL WORKSHOP AGENDA

8:15 – 8:30 am              Gather and registration

8:30-8:50 am                  Welcome and Logistics – Steve Muntz

Pre-event survey

8:50 – 9:00 am              Andrew Williams –

  • Framing the day and the opportunities for high tunnels

9:00- 10:15 am               Mark Schonbeck

  • Principles of organic and natural farming
  • Building and Managing soil health and fertility in organic systems
  • crop diversity & rotations
  • Weed and pest management in organic systems
  • Organic standards and approved materials

10:15-10:25                    Break                                               

10:25-11:40 am            Mark Cain

  • my farm/whole farm system
  • high tunnel siting 
  • basic production in high tunnels, bed design, irrigation, ventilation
  • working with small plot sizes and equipment
  • irrigation on small acreage
  • organic pest control
  • critical factors for profitable hoophouse production
  • budgets and planning

11:40 – 11:55 am          Andrew Williams – Solarization

11:55-12:15                    Q&A

12:15 – 12:30                 NRCS Practices & Programs related to high tunnel production

12:30-12:45        Cooperative Extension Systemprograms related to high tunnel production –

12:45 – 1:30 pm               LUNCH 

1:30 – 3:00 pm                 Farm Tour, Q&A

3:00-3:30 pm                  Wrap-up, post-event survey

 

Two Day Training Agenda

Day One Workshop Agenda (9:00 am – 3:30 pm)                             

 

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.                           Registration  continental  breakfast with coffee/fruit

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.                         NRCS Role with Organics and Hoop Houses – A. Williams

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.                        Local and Organic: Niche for Small Producers – Mark Cain

 

  • Dripping Springs Garden brief history and overview
  • Scale; intensive production system; crops produced; markets.
  • Organic certification, organic parameters, allowed/prohibited materials, paperwork, advantages and disadvantages

               

11:00 – 12:00 p.m.                        Organic Soil Management – J. Lukens                         

12:00 -12:15 p.m.                         Farm overview with owner                        

 

12:15 – 12:50 p.m.                            Lunch

 

1:00 – 3:00p.m.                              Farm Tour (Bus provided)

                                                Walk through and cover:

3:00 – 3:10 pm               Final questions for farmer and on-site tour

3:10 – 3:30 pm               Ride bus back to the classroom & end day

Day Two Workshop Agenda (9:00 – 3:30 pm)

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.              Registration and coffee                   

 

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.            Review of North Pulaski Farm – practices/resources – A. Williams     

Conservation Planning / Organic Systems Plan                 

 

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.          High Tunnels: Construction to Cropping— Mark Cain            

 

12:00 – 1:00 pm              Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 pm               Q&A and general discussion (expand on “learn the story”)

 

2:00 – 2:30 p.m.                  Disease and Weed Control in Hoophouses:

Using Soil Solarization–A. Williams                                            

 

2:30 – 3:00 pm                     Organic Weed and Pest Control in an Intensive Production   

                                                System–  M. Cain

3:00-3:30 pm                       Final Q & A; Wrap-Up, Evaluations

 

 

 

 

Pre-Training Survey

Organic and Hoophouse Production:

Practical Training for Agriculture Professionals

 

Presented by the Southern SAWG | Supported by Southern Region SARE program

Pre-Training Survey

Are you? (check all the apply):

     ?NRCS                  ? Other Federal employee     ? Conservation District     ? State Dept. of Ag & CS

     ? AR Dept. Natural Resources     ? Other State employee     ? Extension/University     ? Farmer    

     ? Other:                                                      

What are your expectations for this training?

                                                                                                                                     

Please indicate your level of knowledge about the following topics:

  1. Principles of organic farming:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Practices of organic soil fertility management:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Practices of organic weed and pest management:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Decision making and profitability on an organic farm:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Design and material choices for a hoophouse or high tunnel:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Construction process for a hoophouse:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Production practices and considerations in a hoophouse:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Marketing and economic considerations in a hoophouse:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of organic farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of hoophouse growers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of small acreage farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of limited resource farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

 

Please indicate your level of confidence in your ability to help the following:

  1. Organic farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Hoophouse growers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Small-acreage horticulture farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Limited resource farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

Post-Training Survey

Organic and Hoophouse Production:

Practical Training for Agriculture Professionals

Presented by the Southern SAWG | Supported by Southern Region SARE program

Post-Training Survey

Are you? (check all the apply):

     ?NRCS                  ? Other Federal employee     ? Conservation District     ? State Dept. of Ag & CS

     ? AR Dept. Natural Resources     ? Other State employee     ? Extension/University     ? Farmer    

     ? Other:                                                      

Were your expectations for this training met by this event? ? Yes                 ? No
Please explain

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                     

 

 

Please indicate your level of knowledge about the following topics:

  1. Principles of organic farming:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Practices of organic soil fertility management:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Practices of organic weed and pest management:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Decision making and profitability on an organic farm:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Design and material choices for a hoophouse or high tunnel:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Construction process for a hoophouse:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Production practices and considerations in a hoophouse:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Marketing and economic considerations in a hoophouse:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of organic farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of hoophouse growers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of small acreage farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Technical assistance needs of limited resource farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

 

Please indicate your level of confidence in your ability to help the following:

  1. Organic farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Hoophouse growers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Small-acreage horticulture farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

  1. Limited resource farmers:

Low                                                                                                                High

?               ?               ?               ?               ?

 

Did you find this training useful for your service to producers?        ? Yes                    ? No

If yes, please specify some of the ways you plan to use what you learned.  If no, please explain.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                     

What was the most beneficial part of the event or the most useful information presented?

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                     

Please offer recommendations on how we can improve this training.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                     

Thank you.  Add other comments on a separate sheet of paper.

Outcomes and impacts:

Through this project, 10 separate training events on organic and high tunnel production were held in four different states.  Two, 2-day trainings were held in Jacksonville, AR in December 2013.  Four single-day trainings were held in four different locations across the state of Louisiana in late February, 2014.  Finally, in November 2014, one single day training was held in Kentucky and three additional single day trainings took place in three different locations in Alabama. A total of 242 people participated in the trainings. 

All participants were asked about their occupation and were allowed to check as many boxes as applied to them.  While the training was targeted primarily towards NRCS personnel we also encouraged participation from university extension personnel and farmers who regularly mentor other farmers.  A summary of occupational responses is provided below:

NRCS

Other Fed Employee

Conservation

District

State

Dept. of

Ag/Cons

State

Dept.

Nat. Resources

Other

State

Employee

Univ.

Extension

Farmer

Other

123

3

6

0

1

1

25

58

26

 

All participants received both a pre and post training questionnaire to help us gauge the effect of the training.  All but 12 participants completed both questionnaires for a total of 231.  Sixteen questions were asked of the participants regarding their knowledge of four areas directly tied to key project objectives: 1) Organic farming and management 2) Hoophouse construction and management 3) Technical assistance needs of organic and limited resource farmers and 4) Ability to provide assistance to organic and limited resource farmers.  All questions gave the option of five response levels from a low of “1” to a high of “5”.  A summary of the differences between the pre-training questionnaire and the post-training questionnaire is provided in the table below.

Based on the changes in average scores, it is evident that the trainings were effective in communicating information across all four key objective areas. 

Participants were also asked if they believed that the training had proven useful for their service to producers.  207 out of 231 respondents claimed that the training had proven useful for their service to producers.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

In December of 2014, participants from the Louisiana trainings (held in February of 2014) were selected at random to learn if they had been able to utilize the training they received to assist farmers.  At least three participants from each of the four Louisiana trainings were contacted via phone interview.  The two key questions they were asked were:

  1. Have you had the opportunity to assist any farmers who either had hoop houses or were planning to establish hoophouses? If yes, did you find the information learned at the training beneficial in working with them?
  2. Have you had the opportunity to assist any organic farmers or farmers who hope to become organic since the training? If yes, did you find the information learned at the training beneficial in working with them?

 Responses from these questions are below:

Participant

Assistance to other hoophouse farmers

(bold numbers in parentheses are counted in tally of additional farmers assisted with hoophouse production)

Assistance to organic farmers (bold numbers in parentheses are counted in tally of additional farmers assisted with organic production)

Site 1, participant 1

She knows of one other farmer that got a hoophouse started this last year and they are all learning together.  Visiting the actual hoophouse site was very helpful.  (1)

Not really

Site 1, participant 2

They have their own greenhouse and went to learn more about how the high tunnels might tie in.  They have customers who are also interested in high tunnels and they pass on their knowledge to them.

Many people are asking about organic but not many producers in the area.

Site 1, participant 3

Working with one couple who was also at the training.  Also, they had a non-profit group that they work with and they signed up with EQIP to get a hoophouse structure.  The training has been helpful for him in working with these folks. (1)

No they haven’t – and many not interested in becoming certified.

Site 2, participant 1

No, they have not, but the training taught them a lot

No, but they just went through an NCAT organic certification process

Site 2, participant 2

The opportunity has not come up yet, but he thinks it will soon.  Training made him feel like this was very do-able.

Not really

Site 2, participant 3

Lots – they have been both approving new structures and looking at sites prior to construction.  They have worked with at least 10-12 farmers in one parish alone.  Trainings and materials provided were very helpful.  Refers back to materials if he forgets something. (10)

Has two people interested in organic production in a hoophouse.

 

 

(2)

Site 3, participant 1

Only through a master gardener class that he teaches.  

Not really

Site 3, participant 2

Have helped several farmers since the training, but the training wasn’t all that helpful because he has been doing it for a while anyway

No

Site 3, participant 3

Has visited with two or three producers who are interested in high tunnels.  Training was very helpful – especially the side benefits of being able to visit with the speakers one on one.

 

(2)

Has had one producer interested in organic high tunnel production, but most are just interested in organic production for the home     (1)

Site 4, participant 1

They have gotten their own high tunnel and are interacting with an individual who wants to do organic high tunnel production.  The information from the training has been very helpful.

 

 

(1)

He has been interacting with one farmer and has other acquaintances who are organic producers. He really hopes to spread the word and help get more people raising organically. (1)

Site 4, participant 2

No, but he recently changed parishes.  The trainings did give him a better understanding of the systems.

No

Site 4, participant 3

Has regular interactions with other growers at her market and they exchange information regularly.  The training was helpful, particularly learning what farmers from other areas are doing.  She has since been to another site – it was helpful to compare the different sites to each other

 

Most of the growers she interacts with are raising organically, but not certified.  They share a lot with each other.

Site 4, participant 4

She has been able to assist two other growers and the information from the training was very helpful.

(2)

One of the two farmers she has been assisting wants to go organic. 

(1)

Additional farmers assisted within 8 months of training from this sampling of Louisiana participants

17

5

Additional farmers assisted within 8 months of training for total project (rough extrapolation based on Louisiana input) 

301

89

Based on a rough extrapolation of the information received from phone interviews with the Louisiana participants in these trainings, we estimate that within 8 months of training (across all states involved in the project), a total of 301 farmers will have received assistance with hoophouse management and 89 farmers will have received assistance with organic production. 

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

Based on the pre and post survey results it is clear that training participants gained information to assist farmers in all four key objective areas.  The phone surveys with Louisiana participants taken 8 months after the training indicate that the information has been valuable enough that many of these service providers are sharing what they have learned with farmers who are interested in hoophouses, organic production or both.  While we don’t have a clear way of extrapolating the data beyond the 8 month timeframe used for our telephone interviews, it is reasonable to expect that these service providers will continue to utilize (and hopefully build upon) the knowledge they gained at these training events and that they will share that information annually for up to three years total with about the same number of farmers assisted in the first year.  Accepting this assumption would mean that over a three year period around 900 farmers would be assisted with hoophouse production and about 270 would be assisted with organic production.  It is difficult to estimate the number of these farmers who will prove successful in their endeavors, but certainly some of them will be and their success will contribute to the sustainability of not only their own farms, but their communities as well. 

Future Recommendations

Interest in organic and high tunnel production continues to grow in the region and service providers will need to stay informed on the methodologies and resources available to producers interested in integrating these systems into their farming operations.  While high tunnel and organic production can be a profitable addition to a farm, they are also very high management systems that require a great deal of attention.   It would be a valuable lesson, particularly in the case of high tunnel systems, to do some follow-up research with the NRCS on the high tunnels constructed with EQIP funds.  The research could include learning how many high tunnels constructed are still in use three years after construction, how they are being utilized, and what other knowledge or resources farmers need for successful management of their high tunnels.  Producers no longer using their high tunnels for the prescribed purpose would provide input on why they were no longer using their high tunnels and if they were lacking certain knowledge or resources to make their high tunnels work for them.   The results of this research could be shared with NRCS and other service providers to help them better equip the next wave of farmers interested in high tunnel production.

 

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.