PEI

Hops pitched to P.E.I. farmers

Farmers on P.E.I. should be thinking about hops as a way of diversifying their farms, says an Agriculture Canada research scientist.
Hops can be a lucrative crop, says Aaron Mills. (Agriculture Canada)

Farmers on P.E.I. should be thinking about hops as a way of diversifying their farms, says an Agriculture Canada research scientist.

Aaron Mills will be making a presentation to farmers at the P.E.I. Soil and Crop Association Conference in Slemon Park, just outside of Summerside, on Wednesday.

Mills, who used to work in a brewery, told CBC News Maritime brewers are on the lookout for locally grown products.

"As a brewer and somebody that lives on P.E.I., I think any new crop that diversifies the landscape, it adds to, basically, the complexity of the rural scene," said Mills.

"I think it's a good thing, not so much as the crop that's going to save the world, but basically an option for small producers."

Mills said the start-up costs to grow hops is high, but an acre of crop can bring in more than $3,000 and the hops plant is perennial.

Crop trends

The more than 120 farmers expected at the three-day event, which started Tuesday night, will hear from several presenters on upcoming trends as well as business tips in agriculture.

Conference coordinator Margaret Butcher said the event will include presentations on corn and soybean crops and on marketing strategies.

"We try to keep up to the oncoming trends that are happening and that's why we're looking at things like grains, corns, and soybeans this year, because that's new commodities that growers can produce now that can help their profit line," said Butcher.

"We have it late February so that if there are other things that they're thinking of in terms of their crop choice, they can come and hear something they haven't heard before or get some questions answered."

The conference is open to the public.