January 30, 2012

Media Advisory: Dept. of Ag, USDA-NRCS to Launch New High Tunnel Program

Support available for Missouri Producers to Grow Fresh Vegetables, Herbs during Winter Months

Missouri farmers interested in growing fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and other produce during winter months may receive support from the new High Tunnel Loan Program. The program, a partnership between federal and state agencies, assists producers in expanding their produce-growing season through high tunnels. Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler and State Conservationist J.R. Flores from the Columbia, Mo. Natural Resource Conservation Service will join Dan Keubler, Leslie Touzeau and Liberty Hunter of The Salad Garden in Ashland Tuesday morning for the program announcement.

Through the new High Tunnel Loan Program, the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority provides loans for the initial purchase of high tunnels, which typically range from $4,000 to $6,000. Producers may combine the loan with participation in an existing Natural Resource Conservation Service program that reimburses them for the purchase and construction of a high tunnel that replaces or expands an existing plot.

High tunnels are unheated greenhouses that can increase production as much as three times by increasing the growing season for fruit and vegetables. The Salad Garden in Ashland currently uses high tunnels to grow more than 80 different varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs which are sold to Columbia-area restaurants and at the Columbia Farmers' Market.

Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler, State Conservationist J.R. Flores from the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Dan Kuebler of The Salad Garden

Program announcement, tour of existing high tunnel operation serving area restaurants and Columbia Farmers' Market

Tue., Jan. 31, 2012
10 a.m.

The Salad Garden
16303 South Hawkins Rd.
Ashland, Mo., 65010

For planning purposes, please e-mail Christine.Tew@mda.mo.gov if you intend to cover this event.