Season Extension and Cultivar Evaluations for Increasing Farmer Profitability Using High Tunnels in the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Marketing Area

Project Overview

LNE04-206
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $94,650.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Federal Funds: $22,000.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $43,200.00
Region: Northeast
State: Maryland
Project Leader:
Mark Davis
Future Harvest-CASA

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Vegetables: cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, tomatoes

Practices

  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, double cropping, multiple cropping
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, agricultural finance
  • Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, cultural control, disease vectors, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, physical control, mulching - plastic, sanitation, mulching - vegetative, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, analysis of personal/family life, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The mid-Atlantic region along the eastern seaboard has a mild climate, high population density and a long history of successful agricultural production. In the 18th century and beyond, the Piedmont and Coastal Plains of Maryland was the source of fresh produce for the Baltimore and Washington. In recent years, there has been a resurging interest in locally-grown food. More marketing opportunities have emerged, and there are now many innovative farmers growing for local markets in the region. High tunnel structures provide an economic bonus for farmers who grow high value crops to be marketed within the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan marketing area. The research team has identified five experienced farmers or farm families in Maryland who are willing to invest in another high tunnel on their own farms. There will be an exchange of information among farmers as they refine growing conditions and increase profitability. Through farmer field days and other meetings, information will be distributed in an effort to encourage more farmers in the region to adopt high tunnels and to increase supplies of locally grown vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    We will increase the number of high tunnels in operation on farms in the Mid Atlantic region to enhance the profitability and sustainability of diversified market farmers.

    Over three years, we will disseminate the collected information to 600 farmers through the following venues:

    Farmer field days

    Cooperative Extension bulletins

    The yearly “Farming for Profit and Stewardship Conference” of Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture

    Other meetings targeted at farmers in the region (e.g., PASA, MOFFA, etc.)

    Participating farmers will increase their profitability and sustainability as a result of this project.

    Of the 600 farmers, 40 farmers will put up new high tunnels or add to existing tunnels and will increase their profitability and sustainability.

    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.