WOOSTER, Ohio – With Ohio-grown hops in high demand from Ohio microbrewers, growers who want to learn how to get started in hops production can learn from the experts during a preconference workshop on Feb. 4 designed to offer tips on how to get in on the next big thing in Ohio agriculture.
As more Ohio-based beverage producers seek to procure hops grown in the Buckeye state, interest in growing these crops continues to increase statewide among both established and potential hops growers, experts say, especially since the income potential for hops growers is significant thanks to increased industry demand.
To help new growers learn how to get started growing hops in Ohio, the “Getting Started in Hops Production” workshop will be held Feb. 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio, on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) campus.
The workshop will feature detailed information on the ins and outs of hops production, including tips on marketing your hops and how to decide what varieties to plant, said Charissa McGlothin, program assistant with the Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon.
The event will feature horticulture experts with Ohio State University Extension, OARDC and OSU South Centers. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The OSU South Centers is also a part of the college.
The evening preconference workshop is being held the Wednesday before the two-day Ohio Hops and the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference and Trade Show, Feb. 5-6 at OARDC, McGlothin said.
The demand for hops, a main ingredient in beer manufacturing, is strong and growing from Ohio’s booming craft brewery industry, according to Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with OSU Extension and OARDC.
Hops provide bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt sugars.
And now is a good time for new growers in Ohio to learn research-based production guidelines for business planning, site selection, pest management, irrigation, variety selection, fertilization and marketing, Bergefurd said.
Over 100 licensed Ohio beer manufacturers and thousands of home brewers send an estimated $30 million in hops purchases and related jobs out of Ohio by purchasing the flowers of the hop plant, called hop cones or hops, from out of state, he said.
This demand has created a huge opportunity for local growers to get into hops production. In fact, the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture revealed that the number of farms growing hops nationwide jumped to 166 in 2012, up from 68 in 2007.
“Hops require a high initial planting investment approaching $20,000 per ace to establish,” Bergefurd said. “To help make this high investment profitable, new growers need to understand the basics of hops production, which will be covered during the beginner workshop.”
Bergefurd and with Mary Gardiner, an Ohio State entomologist, are hosting the workshop.
Workshop topics will include:
- Marketing and business strategies for your hops.
- Production planning: pre-planting, planting, post-planting.
- The production calendar.
- Varieties and yield potential.
- Pre-plant soil preparation.
- Fertility management.
- Sampling for diseases, insects and mites.
- Production planning: fall clean-up, spring management, pre-harvest and harvest periods.
- Fertility considerations and management.
- Irrigation considerations.
- Pest management considerations.
Registration for the workshop is $50 and includes a spiral-bound booklet, handouts, snacks and beverages. The deadline to register is Jan. 29.
To register for the conference and for more information, go to go.osu.edu/gettingstartedhopsworkshop2015. For more information, contact McGlothin at 740-289-2071, ext. 132
For more information on the two-day Ohio Hops and the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference go to go.osu.edu/2015ohio_hopsconference.