According to a news radio station in Seattle, Washington, KOMO Radio, farmers in the Yakima area have responded to the rising price of hops and are pulling out other crops to plant hop rhizomes this year. From the report:
Growers are feverishly reconditioning yards and adding new land at an unheard-of pace. Growers are receiving multiple-year contracts with prices front-loaded to help them shoulder the estimated $6,000-per-acre cost to plant yards and also upgrade equipment.
I presume the acres mentioned in this report are in addition to the 6,000 of high alphas that was announced in January at the hop growers convention.
Ralph Olson, general manager of grower-owned HopUnion of Yakima, a buyer who deals primarily with smaller craft brewers, thinks the figure may be closer to 8,000 acres by the time all is said and done. That would be a jump of nearly 25 percent in acreage in one year.
That would suggest an additional 2,000 acres, of which hopefully at least some will be aroma hops. There’s been a lot of speculation but no one’s been sure what would happen this year. Now that spring is upon us and it’s time to start planting, it’s looking like more hops are being planted than previously expected. If that trend continues in other places where hops are traditionally grown then that’s very good news indeed.