Before you go any further in your quest to grow hops, take a moment to really explore if farming is the right commitment for you and your lifestyle.
Here are a few key points we feel is worth mentioning to anyone considering growing hops:
Farming is a lifestyle, and usually not a super profitable one at that. Even though craft beer is enjoying a surge in popularity and many “hoppy” beers are being produced, simply having local hops to sell doesn’t mean buyers will automatically line up at the door for them. You have to know your product and make sure it meets the quality perimeters your customers expect.
Hop supplies, like all agricultural products, experience swings with over and under-supply. Just because hops seem like a “hot” product during one time period doesn’t mean they will continue that way. Are you up to the challenge to weather that storm?
Putting aside beer and hops for a moment, are you extraordinarily passionate about farming, and understand that it means giving up many of the weekends in the spring and summer you may use for vacations or family get-togethers?
Hop farming is farming, period, with all the ups and downs that come with it. It is not easy, or a get rich quick platform. Are you are willing to invest many tens of thousands of dollars into starting the operation and waiting years for any sort of meaningful revenue to begin coming back to you?
Understand that no one will be able to tell you the formula for growing hops on your property, and there will be a lot of research and experimentation along the way to figure out how they grow best in your microclimate.
Also, check out this post: https://47hops.com/hop-farming-6-things-consider-starting-hop-farm-today/
So after you honestly answer the questions above, and decide that farming is the right move for you and your life, then here are some links to help you get started.
Michigan State- Getting Started- http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/hops/getting_started
Hop Growers of America- Cost of Production- https://www.usahops.org/growers/cost-of-production.html
University of Vermont- Hop Project- http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hops#vthops
Small Business Administration- Business Plan- https://www.sba.gov/business-guide
Still interested? Check out this book….
If you’ve done all the research and still have questions, we’d be happy to help you. Feel free to email us with specific questions or get information about a workshop.