There are several reasons to consider building a high tunnel. The most common reasons include protecting crops from the elements, extension of cropping seasons, and improved crop yield and quality. Adoption of high tunnels has been favored by the High Tunnel System Initiative from NRCS-EQIP, which offers financial support to growers who wish to install a high tunnel on their farms. But this increased adoption needs to be supported with the information that helps producers succeed at growing crops in a new environment.
Many things change when you grow crops inside a high tunnel compared to an open field. Research is needed to understand what varieties perform better, and how water and nutrient requirements may change under these growing conditions. But how to prioritize what needs to be answered first? How do we even know how quickly will this industry grow?
A group of researchers at the University of Florida are investigating exactly this. They seek to develop a research-extension network to advance the emerging high tunnel vegetable industry in Florida. If you are a specialty crop producer, share your opinion to help us understand why you would adopt high tunnels, what prevents you from it or if you already have a high tunnel, what research needs would you prioritize. Online Survey: Florida Specialty Crop Growers
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