WOOSTER, Ohio – It’s the next big thing in Ohio agriculture as more beverage producers seek Ohio-grown hops for their craft brews.
Interest in growing hops in Ohio continues to increase among both established and potential hops growers as well as brewery industry insiders, experts say, and the income potential for hops growers is significant.
To help growers and anyone interested in hops learn more about Ohio hops and the Ohio craft brewing industry, a conference and trade show on how to get into the hops business will be held Feb. 5-6, 2015 in the Fisher Auditorium and Shisler Conference Area, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio, on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) campus.
The Hops Conference and Trade Show will feature detailed information on the ins and outs of hops production, including the latest news in hops production and craft brewing technologies, 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 conference and trade show is being held in conjunction with the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference, McGlothin said.
“This conference will be of interest to beginning, as well as advanced hop growers or anyone interested in the hops industry,” she 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.
Over 170 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.
Hops provide bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt sugars.
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.
For the first time in history, Ohio has been added to the U.S. hop acreage report with 30 acres being harvested and more growers and potential growers are expressing interest in getting started in hops production, Bergefurd said.
“For new growers to potentially profit from growing hops, it is very important to learn the research based production guidelines for business planning, site selection, pest management, irrigation, variety selection, fertilization and marketing before they invest the first dollar into their hops business” Bergefurd said. “According to OSU field research results, it can cost up to $20,000 per acre to get started in hops production.”
The conference features numerous sessions by experts from Ohio State University Extension, OARDC, Ohio State University South Centers, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, Ohio Hops Growers Guild Association, Cornell University, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Great Lakes Hops, and the Actual Brewing Company.
Ohio Hops Conference sessions will include:
- Mobile Hop Harvesters.
- Planning to make your hop farm profitable.
- How Brewers Select their Hops.
- Managing Diseases in the Hops Yard.
- Collaborative Marketing-Ohio Hops Guild.
- Hops Fertility Management Using Petiole Analysis and Fertigation.
- Greenhouse to Field, Giving Hops a Jumpstart.
- Enhancing Beneficial Bugs in Your Hop Yard.
- Identifying and Managing Hops Pests.
- Using Cover Crops as an Integrated Pest Management Tool in Hops.
- Weed and Herbicide Management.
- Soil Selection, Preparation, and Fertility.
The Ohio Craft Brewers Association will offer concurrent sessions with additional topics.
The two-day program will be held in the Fisher Auditorium and Shisler Conference Area, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio, on the OARDC campus. The event will also feature the Ohio Craft Brewers and Ohio Hops Social Banquet, Feb. 5 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Shisler Conference Center.
Registration for the conference is $200 and includes breakfast and lunch for both days, transportation for attendees between the banquet and conference hotels, a flash drive with the conference presentations, and a conference booklet with vendor, speaker and program information. The banquet is an additional $50 per person.
The deadline to register for the conference is Jan. 25, 2015.
Contact Charissa McGlothin at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, for more information or to be a vendor. To register for the conference, go to 2015hopsconferenceregistration. More information on the conference can also be found at 2015ohio_hopsconference.
740-289-2071, ext. 136