What are your hop farm dreams?

Three questions to ask yourself before starting a hop growing operation:

1.  Why are you considering starting a hop farm? What is your motivation? Hops are cool, right? Growing great quality, high yielding hops is work. It takes a significant investment to get started. If you just want to grow several plants for your homebrewed beer, stop here, but if you want to grow hops to supply the local craft breweries in your neighborhood, keep reading. 

2.  Where would you like to see your hop farm in 5, 10 or 20 years from today? As a commercial hop grower, you will quickly realize that growing one or two acres of hops will not make you enough money to pay back your investment. You will need a business plan that includes expanding  your hop growing operation to many more acres in a reasonable amount of time. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

3.  What would you do if your hop farm fails? While no one wants to talk about it, growing hops is an enterprise that can fail. If that happens, do you have a Plan B? It is highly recommended. #growmorehops #growhops

Keep on hoppin!  Lee Jennings

Why should you plant clean hops?

What are clean hops? Our hop transplants originate from mother plants screened and purchased from either the USDA's Clean Plant Network or the University of Wisconsin's Clean Plant Program. These plants are screened for the five major hop viruses/viroids: hop stunt viroid, hop latent virus, apple mosaic virus, hop mosaic virus and american hop latent virus as well as hop downy mildew. They are propagated by Eric & Tammy Andersen, owners of St. Croix Valley Hops in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.

There are two main advantages of planting clean hop transplants: Most importantly, they minimize the spread of virus diseases into your hopyard. Even though some symptoms of these viruses don't show up immediately, once they have infected your hopyard from contaminated hop rhizomes, the only solution is to tear out those plants and start over. Second, if you are interested in harvesting more hops from your first and second year plants, establishing your hopyard with hop transplants will give you an healthier and higher yielding crop. You can read more about clean hop transplants here:  https://growmorehops.com/hop-transplants/

By the way, if you are going to the Minnesota Hop Growers Association Annual Meeting in Shakopee, MN on Saturday, March 3rd, I will be attending. See you there!   #cleanhops #growmorehops #growhops

Lee Jennings, CCA

Hop farming is farming (there are no guarantees)

Grow More Hops is 5 years old in 2018. During that time, I have talked to countless people interested in growing hops in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. They were all trying to get all of the information that they could to make a good decision whether or not to start a hop farm. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find good reliable information about hop farming. Very few of the land grant universities in the north central US offer hop growing training except for disease control. That's where I (aka Grow More Hops) came into the picture by offering introduction to growing hops seminars called "Growing Hops from the Ground UP! In 2013 to fill that need. I'm now in the process of converting that seminar into an online course. Stay tuned, expect a release date in early spring.

One of the big aha! moments for new and "wanna be" hop growers is that hop farming is specialty crop farming and there are no guarantees of success. Recently, more of the small hop farmers in the north central US are selling their trellises and going back to their regular full time jobs. To be successful, hop farming is a full time job with significant risks, just like any other type of farming. Grow More Hops is here to help you make the best decisions possible about farming hops. #growhops #growmorehops #hopfarm

Lee Jennings, CCA