Places with extreme climate conditions and short growing seasons, such as the Upper Midwest region of the United States, limit farmers’ total output. Many Farmers are learning new techniques that will allow them to extend the season in order to increase cash crop productivity, and subsequently, profitability. In recent years, high tunnels, also known as hoop houses, have been increasing in popularity as season extension tool. High tunnels are plastic-covered metal framed structures over bare ground, commonly without any external heat. The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program(EQIP) is a federal program designed to assist farmers in implementing conservation practices. Cost share funding through EQIP supports the construction of high tunnels to farmers as conservation practice.
Historically, underserved populations applying for EQIP funds receive higher payment rates in addition to consideration in high priority funding categories, few from these populations seek funding, so they may face in unknown barriers in accessing EQIP support awareness. The objective of this research is to learn from current and potential growers how to improve the reach of government assistance programs such as EQIP to serve under-represented groups. A survey was conducted at the 12th Annual Minority and Immigrant Farmer Conference on January 28-29 of 2017 at the University of Minnesota in the Continuing Education and Conference Center. The survey indicated that majority of survey respondents are using the NRCS program and are mostly or somewhat satisfied with the program. Survey respondents were not asked their racial background, or whether they identify as an immigrant or minority farmer, so we cannot make comparisons or draw conclusions about disparities between immigrant and non-immigrant grower populations. However, most survey respondents reported that language translation would make governmental assistance programs more accessible, since NRCS currently provides language translation and interpretation, outreach designed to increase awareness of existing services may make program more accessible to diverse audiences.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Solomone, Yordanose; Pfeiffer, Anne; Grossman, Julie.
High Tunnel Management Perspective from Immigrant and Minority Farmers.
University of Minnesota.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.