University offers classes on ways for Nevada farmers to extend growing season

Collaborative High Desert Farming initiative offers classes in Reno, Pahrump and Elko

4/4/2014 - By: Claudene Wharton
Hoop House Volunteers cover hoop houses last October at the High Desert Farming Initiative on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. This spring, the Initiative is offering courses for Nevada farmers on how to extend the growing season by using hoop houses and other methods.

With Nevada's climate, more farmers are looking for ways to extend the growing season. The University of Nevada, Reno's High Desert Farming Initiative is offering a two-day course for Nevada's agricultural producers, "The Business of Season Extension Farming," to provide information on field-tested methods for extending the growing season, as well information on reducing risk, low-cost marketing and financial planning. The courses will be presented April 11-12 in Reno, April 25-26 in Pahrump, and May 2-3 in Elko.

Season-extension farming, using hoop houses, row covers or other methods, has gained interest over the past few years as a way for Nevada farmers to provide customers with locally grown produce earlier and later, and to help farmers increase their incomes.

"This two-day class aims to give agricultural producers the information they need if they are looking to add season-extending methods to their operations," said Jennifer Ott, project manager for the University's High Desert Farming Initiative.

The Reno class will be held at the University of Nevada, Reno; the Pahrump class will be held at the Nye County Cooperative Extension; and the Elko Class will be held at Great Basin Community College. The Reno class will offer an afternoon at the hoop houses on the High Desert Farming Initiative site to view and discuss hoop-house design, irrigation setup and trellising systems. The Pahrump class will include an afternoon tour at a locally built hoop house to discuss building techniques, irrigation setup and maintenance. The Elko class will offer a hoop-house building workshop to review the techniques of raising and covering a hoop house.

The course will be taught by Rod Jorgensen and Ben Tedore of the Nevada Small Business Development Center, part of the University's College of Business, and by Rick Lattin of Lattin Farms.

The $40 fee for the class includes course materials and lunch each day, and preregistration at www.highdesertfarming.org/projects is required.

The High Desert Farming Initiative includes eight hoop houses, two greenhouses and a washing/storage facility. It is a collaboration among the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Business; College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; and Cooperative Extension; as well as community groups. It is located at the University's Valley Road Field Labs and Greenhouse Complex on the eastern side of campus.

The Initiative was made possible by the University's Nevada Small Business Development Center in collaboration with Sen. Harry Reid and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD provided $500,000 to help fund the project.

For more information on the Initiative or The Business of Season Extension Farming courses this spring, go to www.highdesertfarming.org or contact Ott at jottnv@yahoo.com or 775-784-1717.


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