Hops research is still on-going at UF/IFAS for use in Florida agriculture.
Back in the fall of 2016, the story of research into growing hops in the Sunshine State had Florida agriculture abuzz. Hops are the vining plant that are at the heart of brewing beer, and a researcher with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS) had found some success growing wild hops as a backyard project. Hops typically prefer the cool, moist environment of the Northwest, which grows about 98% of the U.S.’s hops. The vine has never done well in the heat and humidity of Florida, until now. Hops research still on-going to see if it’s a viable crop for Florida growers, according to a Vegetable and Specialty Crop (VSC) News article. See what it had to say about hops research below.
Hops and Florida Agriculture
Hops would be a great crop for Florida for a number of reasons. The biggest reason being the craft brewing industry has been growing like a weed for some years now, and there’s no end in sight. Florida saw some of the largest growth in the craft brewing sector, making hops an in-demand crop. In fact, an Apopka brewery earned the “Fresh from Florida” seal in April because it’s beer is brewed with Florida-grown crops, according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel.
“Many believed that hops production was not possible due to high temperature coupled with pest and disease pressures found in the subtropical southeastern United States,” said Brian Pearson, a University of Florida assistant professor of landscape, ornamental and protected crop management in the Department of Environmental Horticulture, in the VSC article. He maintained that research had been on-going since 2012, and would likely continue for another three to four years.
The hope is that hops will become a major cash crop for Florida agriculture. “Production of hops in Florida allows agricultural producers the opportunity to diversify the crops they cultivate,” Pearson said.
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