November 22, 2017
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is partnering with Plattsmouth-based Midwest Hop Producers LLC to develop a production market for locally sourced hops. A $69,315 grant awarded to the company from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will further their efforts to identify hop cultivars adapted to the Midwest.
Hops contribute the bitter and aromatic flavors to beer. Increasing demand in specialty beers and locally sourced ingredients, along with the decline in worldwide hop production and commodity crop prices, is bringing an increased interest in local hop production. This project is focused on identifying adaptation traits important for growing hops in the region.
"Our ultimate goal is to develop a Nebraska-adapted hop that also has a unique flavor profile of interest to brewers, that is high yielding with minimal pest issues," says Keenan Amundsen, associate professor in UNL's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. "Midwest Hop Producers are the current experts on growing hops in Nebraska, so we're excited to partner with them."
During this project, Amundsen will offer Midwest Hop Producers LLC technical expertise on genetic marker work.
The project will also lay groundwork for a regional hops breeding program. The team is evaluating the performance of commercial and local wild hops on the university's East Campus and in Plattsmouth.
"This research will provide a foundation for expanding production and successful hops farming in the area. Our competitive advantage of cultivar evaluations and collaborative partnerships with growers and brewers will establish hop farming and production as a thriving and viable business in the Midwest," says Midwest Hop Producers owner Annette Wiles.
The project was funded as part of a series of USDA grants aimed at bringing agricultural business ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace. Funding is made through NIFA's Small Business Innovation Research Program. The program is coordinated by the Small Business Administration and administered by 11 federal agencies, including USDA. It encourages domestic small businesses to engage in high-growth research and development with high potential for commercialization.
Source: IANR News
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