Group advocating for Michigan hop farmers wins $105K grant to do just that

What’s happening: With nearly 400 acres dedicated to hop production, Michigan is the fourth largest hop-growing state in the United States and largest outside of the Pacific Northwest. A new grant received by the Hop Growers of Michigan nonprofit will be used by the advocacy group to put more Michigan hops in more Michigan beers – and more Michigan hops in beers throughout the Great Lakes region, for that matter.

About the grant: The Hop Growers of Michigan (HGM) organization has received a $105,549 Specialty Crop Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support their efforts in enhancing the competitiveness of the Michigan hop industry. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) administers the grants statewide, and announced a total of 20 such grant recipients in late September.

The complete list of grant recipients is available online.

How they’ll do it: Officials at HGM are readying the launch of a two-year marketing, sales, and product awareness campaign throughout the Midwest, and especially in the states of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. HGM plans to expand its membership relationship with the more than 300 breweries that make up the Michigan Brewers Guild while establishing new networks within the Brewers of Indiana Guild, Ohio Craft Brewers Association, and Wisconsin Brewers Guild, all the while extolling the virtues and benefits of Michigan-grown hops. The nonprofit also plans to help craft brewers and craft beer drinkers identify those beers brewed with Michigan-grown hops.

[Related: Read "Michigan hop farmers are upbeat about their future" on Rural Innovation Exchange.]

Why it’s important: “This grant provides all Michigan hop growers with an opportunity to establish new business relationships with customers in the Great Lakes region,” says Mark Trowbridge, president of Hop Growers of Michigan. “It's often expensive for growers to attend brewer conferences, and those events are the best bang for the buck in getting your message out. This grant will allow growers to be at those events with a contingency representing Michigan hops.”

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