Craft breweries aren't just a fun place to meet up with friends. They may be fueling an unprecedented geographic expansion of hop production across the U.S., according to researchers at Penn State and The University of Toledo. Their findings suggest that as more craft breweries emerge around the country, so may new opportunities for farmers.
Hops are a key ingredient in beer production, providing aroma and bittering characteristics. Before 2007, hop production in the U.S. was limited to only three Pacific Northwest states--Oregon, Washington, and Idaho--according to Claudia Schmidt, assistant professor of agricultural economics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Citing a report released this year by the Hop Growers of America, she said that 29 states are now engaging in hop production.
"Our study is the first to systematically show that the number of hop farms in a state is related to the number of craft breweries," said Schmidt. "It suggests that in areas where hop production is possible and not cost-prohibitive, breweries are expanding markets for farmers and providing an opportunity to diversify farm income."
Using data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture and ReferenceUSA, the researchers found that from 2007 to 2017, the number of breweries in the U.S. more than quadrupled from 992 to more than 4,000, and that the number of breweries in a state is associated with more hop farms and hop acres five years later. The number of hop farms grew from 68 to 817, and hop acreage expanded from 31,145 to 59,429 acres.
"This growth has not only led to interesting changes in the locations of hop farms across the U.S., but it has positioned the U.S. as the largest producer of hops globally, both in terms of acreage and production," said Elizabeth Dobis, a postdoctoral scholar at the Penn State-based Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, and lead author of the study.
Working with farm, brewery, and climate data, the researchers developed a statistical model to determine whether new craft breweries in a state between 2007 and 2017 resulted in a larger number of hop producers and hop acres planted, by both new and existing growers in that state. They built a time-lag into their model to identify the effect of new breweries over time. They also controlled for other variables that may influence farmers to start growing hops, such as average farm size, average net farm income, and climate.
Their findings, which were published recently in the Journal of Wine Economics, are correlational and do not point to a clear cause-and-effect. However, the time-lag built into the model indicates that the growth in breweries preceded the growth in hop farms, said Dobis.
One possible explanation for the trend is that the growing consumer demand for locally sourced food and beverages encourages craft brewers to seek out locally grown ingredients, said Schmidt.
"While most craft breweries serve a local market, they haven't always sourced local ingredients for their beers," Schmidt said. "But if you're a brewer looking to differentiate yourself in an increasingly crowded market, sourcing ingredients locally is an approach that some brewers have found to be effective."
For example, in a project unrelated to this study, Penn State Extension's Kristy Borrelli and Maria Graziani conducted focus groups with Pennsylvania craft brewers, who reported that sourcing ingredients locally helps them connect with their customers' sense of place and preference for a flavor profile that is unique to the region.
If more brewers are looking for hops grown nearby, then more farmers may be willing to try growing them, even if only on a small scale. For instance, in Pennsylvania only 17 farms reported hop production in 2017, and their combined acreage is small--only 21 acres in all, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture.
Looking forward, the researchers said that they will collaborate with Penn State Extension to identify the specific attributes and price points that Pennsylvania craft brewers are looking for in order to help inform farmers' production decisions.
The Role of Craft Breweries in Expanding (Local) Hop Production
- Author: A. James Downer
Jim Downer is an Advisor who has worked extensively on tree - avocado especially - pathology. His title econpases Pathology of landscape ornamentals , Phytophthora Root Rot, Mulches, Potting soils, Palm horticulture, "climate ready" trees, arboriculture, Master Gardener Advisor.
The word sabbatical comes from the word Sabbath which most of us take to be a day of rest. So naturally most people not affiliated with Universities would assume that sabbaticals are a kind of paid vacation. After a certain number of years professors can leave for a year-long vacation somewhere. The reality of sabbaticals is quite different. As UC academics farm advisors have a sabbatical privilege, although many of my colleagues never take the opportunity. A well-known pomologist in Northern California has never taken one in her entire career. Her choice is not uncommon, because it takes a lot of change to make Change happen. You have to uproot yourself and create a life elsewhere and that takes much planning. A sabbatical is a kind of rest, because we are not doing our normal job functions, but also a time of renewal, study, or exploration that should have outputs of interest to those with whom we work (our clientele).
It is an academic privilege to take sabbaticals, but UC has requirements before we can go. Before we can leave we have to accrue credit toward the sabbatical. It takes about nine years of full time work before we are able to go away for a year. Shorter versions are also possible. While gone, we can't use any of our office or County based resources. In order to go, we need to write a plan that details what will be done, how we fund our activities, what will be learned, and how it will help our clientele. When we return, a detailed report must be filed that describes what was accomplished. Sabbaticals often involve foreign travel, but that is dependent on the nature of the sabbatical. They may be focused on research or on professional development (going back to school). In my last sabbatical over 25 years ago, I did the coursework for my Ph.D. in plant pathology.
On this sabbatical, my emphasis was writing. I have so many projects that were not written up either for journal articles or popular clientele-based publications. I had never written a UC publication before, so that was also a goal ( https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/) I was also interested in looking at the origin of some of the “Climate Ready Trees” that grow in the desert Southwest, and finally I did some travel to Thailand and Texas to look at shade trees in very different places.
I took up residence in the small town of Portal, AZ last October (2018). Located there is the South Western Research Station (SWRS). SWRS is a nexus for biologists studying bio diversity in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona. I held two meetings - one at the beginning of my sabbatical and one just at the end - on the ecology of trees in the Chiricahua Mountains. Clientele from California and all over the country and world attended. The meetings were in Collaboration with the University of Arizona. My trip to Thailand focused on horticulture in Chiang Mai and it was fascinating to see trees struggling with urban life in a tropical country. In Texas, I spoke at Texas A and M about palms and drought and learned about local drought tolerant species. My travels and findings about “climate ready” trees were summarized briefly in a sabbatical report on our website at http://ceventura.ucanr.edu/Environmental_Horticulture/Landscape/. There are links there to other publications that I was able to produce while on leave. Several of the publications are open access journals and can be easily viewed on the web. I am in the process of developing my final sabbatical report and another Landscape Notes article on trees that I recommend for Southern California landscapes.
While sabbaticals are a time of renewal and rest from current duties they also result in new knowledge and ways we can better help our clientele. I am back now and look forward to working with everyone in Ventura County on tree and plant pathology issue.
Ventura County Research Symposium
Sustainability Through Soil Health
February 27, 2020
Please join us for a morning of research updates and
speakers highlighting industry trends including:
- Soil Health Assessment and Management:
- Lessons from the Arid and Semiarid Southwest
- Dr. John Idowu, Extension Agronomist & Associate Professor at New Mexico State University
- Messages from Soil Health Research
- in San Joaquin Valley
- Dr. Jeffrey P. Mitchell, CE Cropping Systems Specialist at Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center
29th Vertebrate Pest Conference
The 29th Vertebrate Pest Conference, an educational event for discussing and exchanging information on human-wildlife conflicts, will be held March 2 – March 5, 2020 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, Santa Barbara, California. This is an applied Conference with CE units available for those in need. Special symposia for this year's Conference include “Predator Management”, “New Technologies for Managing Wildlife”, and “Island Invaders”, with additional concurrent sessions covering numerous aspects of human-wildlife conflict resolution. The Conference will kick off on Monday, March 2nd with an optional all-day field trip covering many human-wildlife conflict topics in the region. See the Preliminary Program for additional details on both the presentation topics, as well as the field trip details: http://www.vpconference.org/. Pre-registration is now open. Varying registration levels are available including full and daily registration, as well as discounted rates for retirees and students: https://www.target-specialty.com/vertebrate-pest-conference. Hotel rooms are currently reserved at the Conference hotel, but the number is limited. We encourage you to reserve your rooms as soon as possible to ensure the availability of the discounted Conference rate: https://book.passkey.com/event/49895504/owner/3105901/home. For additional details, see http://www.vpconference.org/ or contact Niamh Quinn (email@example.com).
- Author: Linda Chalker-Scott
- Author: Jim Downer
Washington State University and UCCE - Ventura County, respectively
Horticultural myths, found extensively in print and online resources, are passed along by uninformed gardeners, nursery staff, and landscape professionals. Occasionally myths are so compelling that they make their way into Extension publications, used by Master Gardeners as educational resources. In this article we deconstruct seven widespread gardening myths by way of reviewing research-based literature. We also provide scientifically sound alternatives to these gardening practices and products. Our hope is to arm Extension educators with the educational resources necessary to battle misinformation that ranges from the merely useless to that which is actively damaging to soils, plants, and the surrounding environment.
Home gardeners and landscape professionals are a rapidly growing audience for extension educators as they seek science-based information to support their activities. However, many are not familiar with current research and cannot assess whether the information they find in print, on the internet, or through social media is accurate. In addition, some products and practices are meant for agricultural production, not for maintaining home gardens and landscapes. The combination of misinformation and misapplied information means that this audience risks damaging their plants and soils through overuse of fertilizers, misuse of pesticides, and poor management practices.
The field of urban horticulture, including arboriculture, is expanding with new insights about plants and soils in residential and public landscapes. However, there are few Extension educators who have an academic background in environmental horticulture and may be as confused as the public about what constitutes sound, science-based recommendations.
The authors of this article are state Cooperative Extension educators and researchers with many years of experience in translating science for use by home gardeners and landscape professionals. Our goal is to assist other Extension educators by providing reliable information for them to share with the gardening and landscaping public.
The purposes of this literature review article are:
- to identify some common beliefs homeowners and landscape professionals have about managing landscape plants and soils;
- to provide a brief, science-based explanation on why these beliefs are not accurate;
- to provide links to published, peer-reviewed information that supports the explanation and can be distributed to clientele; and
- to suggest strategies based on current and relevant applied plant and soil sciences for managed landscapes.
And here is the article:
Garden Myth Busting for Extension Educators: Reviewing the literture on Landscape Trees