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High Tunnels

While they may look like greenhouses, high tunnels are actually quite different.

91230349 2846442315403269 3309457917169631232 nGreenhouses are usually constructed of glass and metal, with plants grown in pots above the ground. High tunnels are polyethylene, plastic or fabric covered hoop structures that can be assembled for a fraction of the cost, with plants grown in raised beds or grown directly in the ground.

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 USDA-NRCS 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

 Video https://youtu.be/ZJb8hA4X5Pk

Applying for a High Tunnel

If you are interested in learning more about high tunnels or applying for financial assistance to install a high tunnel contact your local conservation district.

Contact the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District

Farm Forest and Open Space Program, State programs, & general questions

  • Gina Fuller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 401 500-0422
  • Mail documents via US Postal Service to: PO Box 1636, Kingston, RI 02881

Technical Assistance * USDA-NRCS * EQIP * Soil Health * High Tunnels * Forestry * Farm Plans

  • Jake Peterson This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 401 258-7870
  • Mail documents via US Postal Service to: 60 Quaker Lane, Suite 40, Warwick, RI 02886-0111
  • Kyle Lemoine This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 401 258-0266
  • Mail documents via US Postal Service to: 60 Quaker Lane, Suite 40, Warwick, RI 02886-0111

You must meet certain eligibility requirements to obtain financial assistance, conservation district staff can help you determine if you are eligible.

Conservation District staff can also provide you free technical assistance to achieve your goals if you are not eligible or are working in urban or suburban areas where small spaces might limit your options.

https://youtu.be/14jE1T2Vd_Q

Who can apply?

To qualify for the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, you must:

  • Be an agricultural producer.
  • Install the high tunnel on existing cultivated land.
  • Other considerations
  • The land must currently be in agriculture.

Approved applicants will receive financial assistance for a high tunnel and related additional conservation practices that help achieve the expected conservation benefits or mitigate any potential negative effects from installing the high tunnel.

The high tunnel must be purchased as a manufactured kit from an NRCS list of approved vendors, be at least six feet high, and have an expected life span of at least four years.

Electrical, heating, or ventilation systems may be added to the high tunnel at the applicant’s expense.

 What NRCS programs pay for?

Funding is provided through both the Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Plants must be planted in the ground or in permanent raised beds, not containerized.

Water runoff from high tunnels can cause erosion, pooling, and other environmental concerns, additional conservation practices may be installed as a condition for the installation of a high tunnel. These include:

  • runoff management
  • filter strips
  • drain structure for water control
  • critical area planting

NRCS- RI current uses $3.31/sq ft as the rate of reimbursement for high tunnel systems. System must meet the Conservation Practice Standard (325)

Conservation Practice Standard Overview (pdf one pager)

CONSERVATION PRACTICE STANDARD (pdf)

List of NRCS approved vendors (pdf)

 

Mission

The mission of the SRICD is to promote and achieve a healthy environment and sustainable use of natural resources for the people of Kent and Washington Counties and the State of Rhode Island, now and for the future, by coordinating partners to provide technical, educational and financial resources.

Contact

Gina T. Fuller
District Manager, Southern Rhode Island Conservation District
401-500-0422
Email sricd.info@gmail.com

PO Box 1636, Kingston, RI 02881
office (401) 500 0422

Upcoming Dates