A program directed toward small, limited resource producers wanting to expand specialty crop production is offering grants and up to one acre of plasticulture installation.  Applications to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) must be postmarked by September 10, 2012.

Plasticulture implements the use of plastic in gardens and can help with weed control, water erosion, nutrient leaching and compaction. The use of raised beds covered in plastic can increase plant and product quality and bring greater yields. Each bed includes a drip irrigation line under the plastic covering to supply water and fertilizer.

Limited resource producers are defined as having direct or indirect gross farm sales of not more than $100,000 in each of the previous two years and receiving little or no assistance from the government.

The program emphasizes marketing and requires a three year commitment as funds are provided in increments of a maximum of $500 each year.  Micah Anderson, ODAFF Plasticulture Coordinator, said applicants will be evaluated based on experience, marketing plans and application date.

Farmers selected for the program supply water and soil testing, plants and soil preparation in addition to production reports. ODAFF will provide plastic, drip tape and shut-off valves.

Grant funds may be used for soil and water testing, animal depredation control, wildlife fencing, fertilizer, scales, and plants.  The plasticulture grant program currently has $15,000 available.

For additional information and grant forms contact Ashley Carroll at (405) 522-4330.  Application forms are also available online at www.oda.state.ok.us/mktdev-plast.htm.


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