PIKETON, Ohio — The hops industry is booming in Ohio, and organizers of The Ohio State University Hops Conference and Trade Show on Feb. 24-25 have brewed up a program that will keep the learning flowing for beginner and advanced growers alike.
“There was an estimated 200 acres of hops planted in Ohio on 80 farms in 2016, up from 10 acres on four farms in 2014,” said Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the conference organizers. The event is co-sponsored by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild.
Ohio’s growing number of breweries require flowers of the hop plant as the main ingredient providing bitter notes as a balance to the sweetness contributed by malt sugars. An interest in locally grown ingredients has spurred growth in Ohio’s hops production.
This is the first year the annual conference will be held at The Ohio State University’s South Centers, Bergefurd’s home base. The meeting, beginning at 8 a.m. Friday and ending at 4 p.m. Saturday, will be held at the South Centers’ Endeavor Center, 1862 Shyville Road, just south of Piketon.
“By bringing the conference here, we’ll be able to offer tours of our research hop yards,” Bergefurd said.
“And we’ll also be able to show participants our new galvanized hop trellis system that we are testing in partnership with a private company,” he added.
“This is a first in the United States. If the prototype works, then we can save farmers from having to replace the standard wooden poles, which growers have relied upon for over 100 years, that need to be replaced every 20 to 25 years or less.”
Participants will also be able to see a demonstration of the center’s new hops harvester equipment, purchased last summer from HopsHarvester in New York.
“This harvesting method can help save growers labor, reduce labor costs, increase harvest efficiency and the timeliness of harvesting, which leads to a better-quality hop,” Bergefurd said.
The venue is smaller than conference locations in the past, so participation will be more limited than usual this year, he added. In the past, the conference has drawn about 250 participants.
Registration is $150 for both days or $100 for a single day, and includes lunch and snacks, a flash drive with the presentations, a conference booklet with vendor, speaker and other program information, and access to the trade show. An optional Friday night banquet is an additional $40 (space is limited). Information and a link to online registration is available at go.osu.edu/OSUHopsConference2017.
Each day will feature several general sessions and breakout sessions split between beginner and advanced topics. Presentations include:
- Hop Production Economic Analysis: Can We Make Money at This?
- Connecting with Your Customer/Buyer
- Brewers Panel: How Hops Are Used in the Brewing Process and What Defines Good Hop Quality?
- Keeping Hops Healthy: Disease Diagnosis, Forecasting and Control
- The Importance of Thorough and Accurate Spray Coverage for the Hop Yard
- Growing Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health, Nutrient and Soil Quality
- Hop Plant Propagation
- Hop Yard Designs: Which Is Best for You?
- Efficient Hop Growing and Processing Practices
- The Importance of Selecting the Proper Nutrient Sources and Timely Fertility for Hop Production
- Spider Mite Control in the Hop Yard
- Weed Control Herbicides and Drift Control
- Mechanical Harvesting Options for Hops
For a complete schedule, see go.osu.edu/hops2017agenda.
Vendors interested in participating in the trade show can also register online. Cost is $250 for both days or $150 for one day. For more information, contact Charissa Gardner at the South Centers at email@example.com or 740-289-2071, ext. 132. Online vendor registration is at go.osu.edu/OSUHopsConferenceVENDOR2017.
Both OSU Extension and the South Centers are part of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.