NRCS MAKES HIGH TUNNEL PROGRAM MORE FLEXIBLE The Interim Conservation Practice Standard (798) ‘Seasonal High Tunnels System for Crops’ was piloted in 2010 to offer a technology to extend the growing season in many areas of the United States to successfully produce vegetable and other specialty crops. The interim standard has been used for about 9 months now. Many producers have requested to add fans, heaters, and roll-up sides as features that would improve function and efficiency. As a result, the Interim Conservation Practice Standard (798) has been revised to relax the restrictions on electrical, heating, and mechanical ventilation systems. This revision is applicable to previous facilities planned and installed. The new practice definition for (798) reads: "A seasonal polyethylene-covered structure that is used to cover crops to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner." This will provide the opportunity for those producers who want to add the additional electrical, heaters, double layer poly greenhouse covering, and ventilation systems to do so at their own expense. The criteria for the interim standard remain unchanged. If the addition of electrical or mechanical equipment adds to the structural requirements of the structure, it is up to the producer to fund the higher-cost structure. The seasonal high tunnel system must still be a manufactured kit, as stated in the criteria.
The revised Interim Conservation Practice Standard, “Seasonal High Tunnels System for Crops,” is available HERE.
For more information contact your local NRCS office.