New research shows benefits of farming with high tunnels in the Panhandle

VIDEO: New research shows benefits of farming with high tunnels in the Panhandle

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Panhandle is not typically the place to grow a wide variety of produce, due to the lack of irrigation water and extreme weather conditions.

With new research conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife, and their use of plastic tunnels, farming might see a change in the near future.

“Were are just using these as research tools to see what we can do to help the farmers make more money," said Dr. Charlie Rush.

This year, researchers are working on not only food crops, but those that will produce seeds that can be harvested and sold to grow more plants.

Seed production will allow farmers to grow more and use less water throughout the season. Seed collection will take place in a couple months, then researchers will be able to see the profitability difference between growing produce for consumption or for seeds.

The question is, will the experiment payoff for farmers looking for new ways to better use their land?

“So the idea is not to totally replace any of the crops that are growing, but maybe to diversify and let people try it and see if they, uh, and see if it pencils out for them," said Rush.

Having these smaller tunnels in a semi-controlled environment, allows farmers to try organic crops, which are in high demand right now.

“Traditional production versus organic production and uh uh these high tunnels offer all kinds of opportunities there,” said Rush.

If this dual production high tunnel process works the way researchers hope, we can start to see a wider variety of produce grown in the Panhandle, our farmers will make more money, and our economy will benefit.

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