APPLY BY MARCH 20, 2015
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will again offer the opportunity for produce growers in the Greater Cleveland area to apply for financial and technical assistance for seasonal high tunnels, commonly referred to as hoop houses.
With assistance from NRCS, urban and rural area farmers have already established numerous hoop houses, many in community gardens near residential areas. Hoop houses allow growers to cultivate and harvest fresh produce for all but the coldest months, providing a source of nutritious food closer to where people live.
Hoop houses not only benefit people, they protect the environment too. The plants grown in a hoop house need fewer pesticides and nutrients, improving plant health and soil quality. Growing and purchasing food locally improves air quality by decreasing fuel use for transportation.
People interested in applying for assistance to obtain a hoop house should start the application process as soon as possible to allow enough time for securing permits and other documents needed to complete the application. NRCS will select applications for funding until March 20, 2015, for funding this year.
Applicants approved for hoop houses must adhere to local zoning and building requirements for hoop houses. Applicants must also show documentation that they will have control of the land where the hoop house will be installed, such as a deed, rental agreement, or lease.
Applications for EQIP submitted by entities, such as groups applying as a corporation, must have a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number and an active SAM (System for Award Management) registration status when applying, a process that may take several weeks. Applications cannot be processed without this information. Information on obtaining a DUNS number and registering with SAM is posted at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill.
To apply for a hoop house, contact NRCS at 216-503-9230 ext. 9283. Mr. Al Norwood or Ms. Lynette Harmon will assess proposed hoop house sites and help applicants through the application process.
Find more information on hoop houses and other conservation programs on the Ohio NRCS website.