Building technical support capacity for Kentucky's high tunnel specialty crop producers

Grants and Contracts Details


In the next year, the state of Kentucky is on track to experience unprecedented growth in specialty crops produced in high tunnels, with nearly 200 new high tunnels slated for construction in 2012]2013 through Natural Resource Conservation Servicefs (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). High tunnel technologies offer growers the potential to extend their growing season, and can allow for year]round production of high]quality, high]yielding specialty crops. However, production information for diversified high tunnels is lacking, and Extension resources are minimal on a nationallevel. This project seeks to close key Extension and research gaps that directly affect producer profitability, addressing key management challenges identified by high tunnel producers throughout Kentucky and through literature developed in other regions with a longer history of high tunnel production. Specialty crop producers will be engaged through a series of focus groups including current and new high tunnel growers, which will guide Extension resource development and identify key research needs. From this input and a comprehensive literature review, we will develop novel webbased and print resources for high tunnel production to enhance high tunnel production at this critical period of high tunnel production growth in Kentucky. This literature will include results from field research at the UK Horticulture Research Farm High Tunnel Research Facility from 2010 . 2013, which will communicate existing research findings as well as new research on soil fertility and nutrient (specifically nitrogen) dynamics in diversified high tunnels that are both stationary and moveable. Filling these key knowledge gaps will aid in development of a high tunnel nutrient management decision tool for growers, which will improve ecological efficiency and profitability of specialty crops produced in high tunnels.
Effective start/end date1/28/1312/31/15


  • KY Department of Agriculture: $50,791.00


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