July 16, 2010

Funding is available for a limited time for Dover/Plant City area growers who want to implement alternative frost-freeze protection practices through the federal Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). Applications are due Friday, July 23.

The AWEP is providing $750,000 to cost-share tailwater recovery and high tunnels in the Dover/Plant City area. Interested growers in the project area must meet eligibility requirements, register with the Hillsborough County Farm Service Agency, and apply through the local Hillsborough County Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The District’s FARMS Program and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ MiniFARMS Program will provide $1.5 million in additional funding. In the Dover/Plant City area, both programs will provide cost sharing for alternative frost-freeze protection methods that are not covered by AWEP, such as weather stations, hoop houses, row covers, protective foam and application equipment. Other water quality and water conservation practices may also be cost shared under these programs.

The deadline for farmers to apply for funding is Friday, July 23. Interested growers should call the Hillsborough County Natural Resources Conservation Service office at 813-759-6450 for additional information.

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