Growing Ohio Hops

According to The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), the state’s beer manufacturers spend an estimated $4 million a year purchasing hops — an essential component of beer — from out-of-state growers. In response, OARDC is launching a first-of-its-kind research program in an effort to increase home-grown hops production.

Beginning this fall, OARDC’s research will evaluate new hop cultivars, production techniques, harvesting, processing and even marketing tools. Early research has shown that hops could be grown in the sandy soil near Lake Erie as well as the heavy clay soil of southern Ohio.

“This will allow Ohio’s beer manufacturers to spend their money in Ohio by purchasing Ohio-grown hops and ultimately help create Ohio jobs,” said Brad Bergefurd, an OSU extension agriculture educator in a recent OARDC news release. “This crop may allow Ohio growers to diversify into a high-value specialty crop.”

Currently, most of U.S. hops production takes place in the northwestern corner of the nation. With the growth of microbreweries throughout Ohio, the demand for hops is certainly increasing. While some hops are already grown in the state, it’s mostly on a small scale or by home brewers with garden space.

OSU researchers estimate that within the first year growers can expect a hops yield of 200 to 1,800 pounds per acre with an estimated value of $2,000 to $25,200. By the second year, researchers estimate 500 to 2,200 pounds per acre valued at $7,000 to $30,800.

Now, that’s something for Ohio growers to be “hoppy” about!

What do you think about homegrown-hops production? Is this a good idea for Ohio growers?

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