Fourth Annual Ohio Hop Conference Focuses On Hop Economics And Production

craft beer hops ohio state university

Hop growing in Ohio is on the rise.

Ohio hops growers experienced one of the highest yielding and best quality hop crops in five years, with strong demand in 2016 from continued growth in the Ohio craft brewing industry. Hops are a specialty crop used as a key ingredient in craft beers, and according to consumer trends craft beer demand isn’t likely to decline soon.

Ten years ago, you could count all of Ohio’s breweries on your fingers and toes. In 2016, there are more than 199 licensed Ohio breweries, feeding the strong consumer demand for local craft beer. To meet this growing demand, an estimated 6,000 acres of hops are required by Ohio craft brewers at current use rates. As of 2016, Ohio has an estimated 220 acres of hops planted, with continued opportunity for Ohio farms to expand hop acreage.

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Click to register.

To help new hop growers learn how to get started or for advanced growers to learn new production techniques, a two-day Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show will be held Feb. 24-25, 2017 at the OSU South Centers, 1864 Shyville Rd., in Piketon, Ohio, on the agricultural research campus of the Ohio State University Piketon Research & Extension Center.

Specialists from Penn State University, Michigan State University and the Ohio State University will share detailed information on the latest research advancements in hops production, including: mechanical harvesting, fertilization, micro-irrigation, disease & insect control and hop profit potential and economic analysis. Tours of the OSU hop research yard and a new galvanized high trellis system will also be conducted. In addition, specialists from the USDA will provide information on how to properly manage soil health and organic matter in new and existing hop yards and funding that is available from the USDA to assist hop farmers in implementing these soil health practices on their farms.

Beginning and advanced hop growers will learn from hop farmers themselves at the Conference. Experienced hop farmers from Ohio and Michigan, who recently started their own hop farms, will share experiences from their recent investments in this high demand crop. Farmers will teach how to design and operate a hop processing facility, how to properly pelletize, package and freeze hops for long-term storage and how to grow and market a high-quality crop. Information on the Ohio Hop Growers Guild and the benefits and resources available to members of the grower organization will also be shared at the conference.

The conference will include a two-day hop industry trade show, showcasing the latest in hops production and processing technologies, including hop plant suppliers, soil amendments, mechanical harvesters, trellis supplies and irrigation equipment. Industry specialists will also teach attendees how to design and construct their own high trellis system, how to propagate their own hop plants and how to operate a mechanical hops harvester.

Other workshop topics will include:

  •  Pests and Beneficials in Hops
  • Processing Facilities –Food Safety Regulations
  • Spray Application Technologies
  • Hop Soil Health, Nutrient and Soil Quality
  • Weed Control in Hops
  • Hop Yard Designs: Which is Best for You?
  • Hops are Picked, Now What?
  • Hop Yard Site Selection
  • Hop Production Economic Analysis
  • Proper Nutrient Sources and Timely Fertility
  • Hop Growing and Processing Practices
  • On Farm Hop Variety Performance
  • Hop Plant Propagation
  • Spider Mite Management and Control
  • Business Considerations for Operating a Hop Farm
  • Hop Farm liability Insurance requirements
  • Brewing 101 for Hop Growers
  • Keeping Hops Healthy: Disease Diagnosis and Control

Registration for the conference is $150 for both days and $100 for one day. Registration includes a conference proceedings, fact sheets, a flash drive with conference presentations, snacks, lunch and beverages. The Feb. 24 celebration of Ohio hops banquet is an additional cost of $40 per person. Due to this year’s location, space is very limited. Therefore, we suggest those interested register as early as possible.

For more information on the two-day Ohio Hops Conference, contact Charissa Gardner at 740-289-2071, ext. 132 or gardner.1148@osu.edu or Brad Bergefurd at ext.136 or Bergefurd.1@osu.edu. For more details and to register for the conference, go here and click on the registration link.

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Horticultural Specialist and Extension Educator for Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center (OARDC), The Ohio State University

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