The Ohio State University’s hops research helps farmers, growing industry

Dave Volkman formerly grew produce on his 12-acre Maineville, Ohio, farm. But by attending a workshop on hops production offered by Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension horticulturist Brad Bergefurd, Volkman learned about the crop’s potential strong profit and high demand. As a result, he traded in his produce for hops. Volkman now has more than 400 plants on 12 acres, supporting two Ohio craft breweries. He also formed the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, which currently brings together more than 50 Ohio hops growers. Hops are a key ingredient in beer manufacturing. Thanks to The Ohio State University’s ongoing hops research and trials, hops are making a resurgence in Ohio after a 100-year absence. With Ohio-grown hops in high demand from Ohio microbrewers, the economic potential for growers and the state’s economy is significant. Ohio growers are poised to capture the $30 million in hops sales and related jobs currently sourced out of state by Ohio’s growing craft brewing industry.

As Ohio brewers seek out locally grown hops, research and education from Ohio State help growers such as Dave Volkman, bottom, and wife Nina Volkman, top, increase production.

As Ohio brewers seek out locally grown hops, research and education from Ohio State help
growers such as Dave Volkman, bottom, and wife Nina Volkman, top, increase production.

ESSENTIALS

• One hundred Ohio breweries produce 1.09 million barrels of craft beer annually, requiring 4 million pounds of dried hops at 4 pounds per barrel — worth more than $30 million — all currently purchased from out-of-state farms.

• To meet this demand, an estimated 6,000 acres of hops are required by Ohio craft brewers at current-use rates. Today, 100 acres are planted with hops in the state, so the potential for growth is enormous.

• OARDC’s hops research trials are helping growers identify the following: new hops varieties for Ohio, effective pest and disease management techniques, successful fertility and irrigation management methods, and mechanical harvesting tools.

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