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Old 11-17-2008, 09:55 PM   #1
Eves
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A recent thread brought up the old idea of selling home brew. Like similar threads brought up in the past on that same subject people were quick to mention the difficulties that would be involved in such a thing. Well what about farming hops and selling them?


My wife grew up on a farm and I've heard of the difficulties involved in farming. So under no circumstances am I suggesting farming of any kind would be easy. However, I am curious about the idea of it. I mean the demand is there, right? And I'd guess that regulations involved in growing and selling of hops is minimal compared to brewing and selling beer.



Could a person be able to make a decent living growing, drying and selling hops on their own small farm?

 
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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I know nothing about farming. But this should be interesting. I'm sure there's a level of scale that is appropriate for this, and maybe even something to be said about it being a seasonal crop.

It'd be neat to see more hydroponic hops farms. Then you could get year round growth.

 
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:04 PM   #3
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IIRC, the equipment needed to dry the hops is pretty expensive, one of the reason it took a while to see new acreage planted once it was clear that there was going to be a shortage. That's the huge challenge; being able to get the product from vine to dry in a short period of time.
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:12 PM   #4
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What about selling "Essential Hop Oil"....Ya know...in it's shipping container of protective glass and liquid buffer.

I can't help it if our process for extracting Hop oil is the same as how brewers make beer.
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:13 PM   #5
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Yeah, I was thinking the drying process was probably the hardest part of farming hops. Though relative to the start up costs of a dairy farm like my father-in-law's I just cannot imagine for a second that building and equipment costs for drying hops would be anything to worry about. Of course I suspect dairy farming brings in more money than hop farming would to help pay those costs. I guess in there end its a question of whether or not the hop drying building and equipment can be paid for by the sale of the hops as is the cast other types of farming.

 
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eves View Post
Yeah, I was thinking the drying process was probably the hardest part of farming hops. Though relative to the start up costs of a dairy farm like my father-in-law's I just cannot imagine for a second that building and equipment costs for drying hops would be anything to worry about. Of course I suspect dairy farming brings in more money than hop farming would to help pay those costs. I guess in there end its a question of whether or not the hop drying building and equipment can be paid for by the sale of the hops as is the cast other types of farming.
If you're serious, you could start your research at the local USDA service center or Extension office. There is likely PLENTY of gub-ment help for those that want to start a new business. Perhaps you'd just find a brewer that wanted to pair with your "boutique" hops and make a nice wet hop ale. That could use most of a normal size crop.
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigKahuna View Post
What about selling "Essential Hop Oil"....Ya know...in it's shipping container of protective glass and liquid buffer.

I can't help it if our process for extracting Hop oil is the same as how brewers make beer.
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:49 PM   #8
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Many hop farms in Germany are under 16 heacres (about 60 acres). American farms run 500+ Figure $4,000 an acre to get setup, maybe less if you live in an area when you don't need to irrigate. Organically grown hops command a premium, but controlling powdery mildew can be a big problem.

Selling rhizomes is a great way to augment your income and since you have to cultivate & prune the roots anyway.

Small Organic hop farm: Paris View Farm - Organic Whole Hops & Rhizomes
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eves View Post
I mean the demand is there, right?
This might be your biggest obstacle. From my understanding (and I dont grow hops), even under ideal conditions, you aren't going to get a good crop for at least a year, probably two. The problem with this is, is that supposedly there are already a bunch of new hop farms around, and by the time your new farm was producing hops, the other farms would be flooding the market and there may or may not be a shortage any more.

Another cost, and I am sure it is minimal, but it hasn't been mentioned, is you will have to have your hops tested for AA% and other chemical ratios. I can't imagine that is a very large cost though.

 
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:03 PM   #10
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Eves, i have often thought of this myself, and i think it is a great idea. The most important consideration is the climate. In order to grow hops economically, you have to have a climate where it is cool at night and hot and dry during the day. Just to give you an idea, most commercial hop growers spend about $6,000/acre, but it is possible to do it for a lot less. Biggest expenses will be fertilizer, irrigation, fungicides, and the trellis system. I work in the Ag industry, and we deal indirectly with hop growers in Idaho. I know one thing for sure, they are making HUGE amounts of money. I don't know this to be fact, but a guy in Idaho told me one of his growers made 2.5 million off of a 40 acre planting! Keep in mind this is farming, next year they could lose 2.5m!! Go For it.

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