High Tunnel Workshop Participants Enhance Knowledge of Profitability Requirements

Henry G. Taber, Faculty, Horticulture Department

Situation: 

Iowa vegetable production has evolved into producers growing multiple crops for primarily a retail market.  Season extension production techniques are necessary to maintain and expand the retail market.  To provide research-based knowledge about high tunnel production, and to gauge potential producer interest, two summer field workshops were held in central and southwestern Iowa.  The intended audience included vegetable and small fruit growers as well as beginning producers. 

Objective:

To provide a hands-on format that would allow exchange of ideas and technical information among growers, extension, and industry representatives concerning high tunnel vegetable and fruit production.  To enhance the opportunity for growers to remain competitive in the region and thereby increase their income potential.

Activities/Output:

The two field day-workshop sessions (central and southwestern Iowa) focused on construction options, pest management, crops, varieties, and profitability.  The structure of the field day consisted of conference sessions with handouts and a walk around at the field research site.  More than 100 people attended with 87 filling out an exit evaluation survey

Impact/Outcomes: 

Seventy-four percent of the participants indicated this was the first high tunnel event that they had attended.  Forty-five percent were interested in vegetable production, 31% fruit production, and the remainder interested in ornamentals and cut-flowers.  The exit survey indicated they agreed or strongly agreed with the following statements:  technical information was very useful (92%); will try a new crop or new market (54%); and 68% of the attendees indicated they learned how crops can be profitable in a high tunnel environment.

2008

130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer

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