- Additional Plants: herbs, hemp
- Animal Production: herbal medicines, parasite control, watering systems
- Crop Production: fertilizers, foliar feeding, high tunnels or hoop houses, irrigation, nurseries, organic fertilizers, season extension types and construction, shade cloth
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, study circle, technical assistance, workshop
- Energy: solar energy
- Farm Business Management: business planning, cooperatives, feasibility study, value added
- Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
- Pest Management: biological control, cultivation, genetic resistance, physical control, weather monitoring
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, new business opportunities, social capital, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains
The purpose of this application is to study the feasibility of hoop house technology and soil conservation to extend seasonal productivity and improve income for farmers growing specialty crops in our region. This project will document soil conservation and season extension techniques using hoop house technology for specialty crops in Minnesota compared to outdoor growing. This technique involves using solar or manual powered light deprivation curtains to block out sunlight in a hoop house to create multiple harvests in a typical growing season.
This research is relevant to farmers, especially small-scale, socially-disadvantaged/BIPOC farmers because it documents the financial feasibility of using technology that helps improve income in a framework that is accessible and duplicable considering the limited land and agricultural resources available to emerging and small-scale BIPOC farmers.
The primary crop being studied is hemp but the research is applicable to similar herbs and specialty crops. Industrial hemp is a leading crop being studied for its many environmental and economic benefits including carbon sequestration, hemp oil production, and its heartiness and resilience eradicating the need for environmentally harmful substances such as weedicides and pesticides on our farms.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our major objectives are to use the Light Deprivation Hoop House farming techniques to achieve seasonal extension and improve crop yield and productivity for high value specialized crops.
1) support Soil conservation needs of independent farmers
2) Document the impact of Seasonal extension technologies to improve yield and productivity of specialty crops
3) Higher quality produce
4) Increased earnings of farmers.