The Brewers Association has learned that the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) has received an additional $900,000 in funding for the 2018 Fiscal Year in support of public hop research. This fantastic development comes, in part, from the BA’s increased lobbying efforts on this issue. Funding for hops and barley research was a top issue at the BA’s recent hill climb and in March the association co-hosted a hill climb for hop farmers, hop suppliers and brewers specifically to focus on these issues. These efforts, combined with letters encouraging the appropriations funding from supportive members of Congress and our allies in the hop growing community, led to this outcome.
The additional appropriated funds will partially increase staffing to allow two current researchers to focus 100% of their time on public hop research, and will allow the program to implement long needed equipment improvements. The ARS hop research scientists include a breeder/geneticist and a pathologist, both of whom lead the world in cutting edge research that benefits all hop industry stakeholders, public and private. This is a win for the entire hop industry, including growers, dealers and the brewers who depend on a diverse and healthy supply of hop crops.
These public funding developments directly enhance the likelihood of success for the breeding program funded by the Brewers Association within USDA-ARS, which will be located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research & Extension Center operated by Washington State University (WSU-IAREC) in Prosser, Washington. The hop breeder we fund will now interact with a much healthier, fully-funded public hop research program, which enjoys the explicit support of congress.