- Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses
- Education and Training: extension, workshop
High tunnel production has grown considerably in Kentucky since 2012. However, many growers still struggle with production challenges that are more commonly observed in high tunnel systems, such as soil salinity, appropriate fertilizer use, and season extension. Because high tunnels are still relatively new, many Cooperative Extension Service agents do not have the experience or information to properly assist high tunnel growers. The objective of this project is to better capacitate CES agents with accurate information and useful skills needed to better support the current and future high tunnel growers in their communities. A training series specific to high tunnels will be provided through the University of Kentucky. Agents from UK and Kentucky State University will be invited to participate in the two-year training series. UK Extension specialists will provide research-based information and resources, as well as instruction for hands-on experience in six different training sessions. Instruction and learning will happen both in the classroom and the field. Experienced growers will attend each training session and share their experiences with the agents and provide feedback to specialists after each training. Although the agents are the audience for the trainings, the ultimate audience is the growers who the agents will serve in their counties. Agents will be surveyed in order to assess each training session’s impact and evaluate whether changes to future sessions are necessary. At the 2021 completion of the training series, agents will be expected to lead a high tunnel-related training supervised by the project director.
Project objectives from proposal:
The project objectives are to train Kentucky county CES agents to have a comprehensive understanding of high tunnel operations. At least six different workshops, each focusing on specific aspects of high tunnel production will be offered over the course of two years.