USDA-NRCS High Tunnel Program Update

I’ve been speaking to my local NRCS office staff about the high tunnel funding project I posted on yesterday.  I am hearing now that the deadline for sign-up is tomorrow–December 31st–though I cannot find that information on the USDA’s press release.

That struck me as pretty soon after the announcement–after all, the YouTube video announcing the program was shot after Thanksgiving of this year (and posted by the USDA on December 16).

Too, there are a number of NRCS offices in South Dakota that are having trouble getting their hands on the details to get people signed up or even give farmers an idea if they qualify or what strings, if any, are attached.

The word is this: chances are, there will be another sign-up period for the high tunnel pilot project, and you will have to register/sign up your farm through FSA (Farm Serice Agency) to qualify.  So, if you are not already signed up with FSA (which is a really simple process), that is the first thing you should do.

If you are operating on someone else’s land (as I am), you can sign up through FSA as an “other operator” on that land.  So long as you are not using their conventional crop acreage to grow your vegetable/fruit/specialty crops, there aren’t any penalties or problems with doing so.

H and I simply walked down to the NRCS/FSA office, pointed out the area in which I’m growing veggies on their map (since his farmlands are already registered), and I gave them my name, SS#, and address.  H had to sign indicating that, yes, I am an “other operator” on his land.

If your land is not already registered with FSA, then you need the above personal information plus a copy of the deed to sign up.  That will allow you to be eligible for programs through the USDA as they are offered.

I should be learning some details from our district conservation officer next week, and I’ll post on them here as I find out more.


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