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-   -   Opportunities to work? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/opportunities-work-184262/)

bosox 06-28-2010 03:36 AM

Opportunities to work?
I started growing my own hops (just 2 plants) this spring, and already it is all I ever want to think about. I guess I'm crazy. But I really do love it, and wish I had the capacity to grow more then just a handful.

That being said, I thought it'd be great to maybe get a summer job on some hop farm or something, and after doing some research I think I have more questions then answers...

I live in Boston, and the only thing about hop farms I could find was called the Northeast Hops Alliance, which I'm still not exactly sure what it is...Seems like mostly a collection of local hop growers, and you can apply to be a member for $40/yr but it didn't really mention anything about job opportunities. However it did mention something about being able to take Hop Institute classes at discoutned rates? I couldn't find ANYTHING doing searches on what this Hop Institute was....And seems like the only things I could find was some hop farm in Maine, and some essay from the University of Vermont about hop growing...

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do about all this?

david_42 06-28-2010 01:45 PM

Hop farms are like most farming operations, busy in the Spring and Fall; not so much in the Summer.

bfeucht 06-28-2010 08:51 PM

And most the labor is either family or seasonal agricultural workers (read Mexican immigrants). If you really have your heart set on making below minimum wage, the vast majority of hops are grown in the Yakima Valley in Washington State.

Really your best bet is to start going to school in Agriculture Science and focus on Hops. Start looking for publications where research on hops is being done and apply to school there. If you have a bachelors degree try to get in a Master's Program with a heavy focus on research. Even if you don't have a degree yet, you can often times get into research as a lab assistance during undergrad programs. I'd recommend checking out public Washington, Idaho, and Oregon schools to start (WSU, UW, OSU, UO, and UI)

Google Scholar can help you get started too:

bosox 06-29-2010 12:23 AM

Well, I'm currently in school for going for a Bachelors in English, so not really very specific or agriculture related lol. For right now, I don't know if I'm ready to committ that much to get a degree just for hop growing.

Has anyone ever heard of this "Hops Institute" though? I can't seem to find anything on it anywhere, other then the Northeast Hops Alliance website..

Retrofit 06-29-2010 03:57 AM

I know in the MidWest they offer classes, but people at the site have admitted that they are focused on the commercial grower. I was interested in taking a class myself, but then decided this board answers all my questions and I will likely never grow more than the what I have planted, so why take a class? Not knocking your effort to get educated, but my personal experience as an amateur, is good books, good questions (here), and time invested can teach a lot.

bosox 06-29-2010 04:04 AM

Yeah, classes weren't really my first choice. I kind of wanted to just get onto a real hop farm and see if there was anythign I could actually do. Otherwise, I doubt I'll ever be a commercial brewer

GVH_Dan 06-30-2010 11:47 PM

bosox...If you want, I can get you in touch with the folks at Foothill hops. They are great people, but I'm pretty sure they aren't hiring. If you want to volunteer, though, I'm sure they would take it.

The Northeast Hops Alliance is a number of growers in the New York/New England area including foothill. They are all fairly small farms at this point. I believe the "Hops Institute" is what they call their educational offerings. I've taught a class for them and will teach another this fall, but much like the ones we hold in the Midwest, it was targeted at the 1 to 10 acre grower.

If you are looking to work at a farm, the PNW is your only real option (outside of starting your own). And like David said, the early spring and harvest time are the really busy times. Right now, its mostly cleaning up equipment for harvest and watching nutrients and pests. To learn the most, you would have to start in March when they are digging up rhizomes and follow the process into the fall when they are processing.

bosox 07-01-2010 12:37 AM

Thanks for all that advice Dan, and excuse me if I sound ignorant but what is the PNW? I'll have to go check out where exactly the Foothill Hops farm is located to see if I would be able to do it. As mentioned, I'm a full time student and work as well so sometimes spring and fall are my busiest haha, leaving me the summer to have some time to myself.

Either way, I'll check out the Foothill farm and see if it would be possible for me to work anything out, and I'll definitely get back to you if I feel like things match up enough to get in touch with them :mug:

bfeucht 07-01-2010 05:49 AM

PNW = Pacific Northwest = Washington, Oregon, Idaho (Southern BC depending on who you talk to)

The percentage of US hops grown in this area is like 90% or something similar. Yakima Valley (WA), Treasure Valley (ID), and Willamette Valley (OR) are the biggest producers of the PNW. If want the best chance at an opportunity you might end up having to go where the hops are.

Hopfarmer 07-08-2010 01:40 AM

You can work here ! Limited pay,Unlimited BEER,Great University support,and always lots to do.Summer is weeding ,Irrigation,Nutrients,preparing for harvest and general head scratching if that is where thre mosquitos got ya

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