First Friday Tours: Hops Production

CFAES is offering free monthly tours of its hops fields in Wooster and Piketon, where specialists are studying new production and management techniques. (Photo: Thinkstock)

PIKETON, Ohio – The new, innovative Ohio hops research program offered by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is offering free monthly tours of its hops fields in Wooster and Piketon, where specialists are studying new production and management techniques.

The Hops Production to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Farmers and Brewers project at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon is offering early-stage growers, advanced growers and anyone else interested in hops production an opportunity to tour the hops research trials at the Piketon facility.

The free tours are designed to be mini-workshops to provide basic information on getting started in hops production and what resources are available for growers, said Charissa McGlothin, program assistant with the South Centers.

The tours will feature basic information on the ins and outs of hops production, including trellis construction, drip irrigation and evaluation of different varieties of hops, McGlothin said.

The tour is designed to ensure that interested growers are kept up to date with the latest research on growing hops, she said.

“Because of the high demand for information on how to get started growing hops we decided to offer a tour once a month to meet that demand,” McGlothin said.

The tours are offered by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which are the outreach and research arms of the college. The OSU South Centers is also a part of the college.

Ohio beer manufacturers spend an estimated $30 million annually on purchases of hop cones, or hops, to create craft beers. This creates a huge opportunity for local growers to get into hops production, according to Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with OSU Extension and OARDC.

Craft brewing is growing quickly in Ohio, with over 100 craft brewers licensed statewide over the past two years, Bergefurd said. And the breweries require locally grown ingredients like hops and malting barley, two main ingredients needed in many of the brews, he said.

The hops tours are from 10 a.m. to noon on first Fridays of the month. They will include an overview of the research conducted at the center and a tour of the Piketon facilities, including research laboratories. The tours will also be offered at the OARDC Horticultural Research Unit 2, 5082 Oil City Road, in Wooster.

The Wooster tours are hosted by Mary Gardiner, an Ohio State entomologist, and led by Chelsea Smith, an Ohio State entomology research assistant. The South Centers tours are hosted by Bergefurd and assisted by Thom Harker, an Ohio State horticulture research assistant.

Topics to be discussed during the tours include:

  • Hop yard construction
  • Establishment cost
  • Bine training
  • Irrigation
  • Variety selection
  • Fertilization

Other highlights include discussions on Ohio’s growing hops industry and various production methods that can be adopted by Ohio farmers, McGlothin said.

Anyone interested in participating in the tours must register by calling McGlothin at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, or by email at Tours are planned for the first Friday of the month through 2015. The deadline to register is the Wednesday before the first Friday of the month.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 


Charissa McGlothin
740.289.2071, ext. 132