FARRMS make grants to help farmers replace High Tunnel Covers

SPECIAL TO DEVILS LAKE  JOURNAL

The Foundation for Agriculture, Rural Resources Management and Sustainability (FARRMS) offers financial assistance for high tunnel growers who have lost the plastic coverings on their high tunnels due to extreme weather.  The ARCH grant (Assistance for Replacement of Coverings on High Tunnels) is a cost-share of 66% of the total cost, up to $500 for materials and supplies to replace the plastic covering on a high tunnel. The ARCH grant assists with costs for market producers who have lost to their high tunnel coverings due to weather from March 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021. This grant does not pay for structural damage or enhancements (end walls, supports structures, etc.), nor does it cover labor costs. FARRMS has disbursed nearly $4000 of the $5000 project fund in grants to ten farmers. We will accept applications until June 1, 2021. Those interested in applying should submit applications as soon as possible at www.farrms.org/arch.

Many North Dakota growers use high tunnels to extend the growing season for specialty crops such as vegetables, small fruits, and cut flowers. High tunnels are constructed with a frame covered by a polyethylene film and protect crops from wind, rain, and cool temperatures. Bitter cold temperatures in February 2021 caused the plastic coverings on many farmers’ high tunnels to become brittle and split. FARRMS Board President Britney Barnett said, “Farmers have shared photos in which the plastic looked shredded.” She added, “Farmers have weathered so many challenges in the last year. We wanted to offer support so they can start the 2021 growing season on the right foot.” FARRMS will also offer educational workshops for high tunnel producers later in 2021.

Since 2000, FARRMS has supported sustainable agriculture and strengthened local food systems in North Dakota and the Red River Valley. We grow farmers and increase sustainable agriculture production through farmer-led education, peer support, and microlending. Our programs improve local food access, create a healthier environment, and build thriving communities. Learn more at www.farrms.org.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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