Rock artists, all. Those who painted rocks at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house...
These rocks at the Bohart Museum of Entomology depict favorite insects: honey bees and ladybugs (lady beetles.) The larger rock, inspired by Valentine's Day, is titled "Love Bugs." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Youngsters flocked to the rock painting table at the Bohart Museum of Entomology to create their masterpieces. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Some of the rocks painted during the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This creative rock shows a butterfly framed in purple and white. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Every butterfly needs a rainbow and every rainbow needs a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Weeds in young orchards compete with trees for orchard resources such as sunlight, water and...
Craft breweries aren't just a fun place to meet up with friends. They may be fueling an unprecedented geographic expansion of hop production across the U.S., according to researchers at Penn State and The University of Toledo. Their findings suggest that as more craft breweries emerge around the country, so may new opportunities for farmers.
Hops are a key ingredient in beer production, providing aroma and bittering characteristics. Before 2007, hop production in the U.S. was limited to only three Pacific Northwest states--Oregon, Washington, and Idaho--according to Claudia Schmidt, assistant professor of agricultural economics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Citing a report released this year by the Hop Growers of America, she said that 29 states are now engaging in hop production.
"Our study is the first to systematically show that the number of hop farms in a state is related to the number of craft breweries," said Schmidt. "It suggests that in areas where hop production is possible and not cost-prohibitive, breweries are expanding markets for farmers and providing an opportunity to diversify farm income."
Using data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture and ReferenceUSA, the researchers found that from 2007 to 2017, the number of breweries in the U.S. more than quadrupled from 992 to more than 4,000, and that the number of breweries in a state is associated with more hop farms and hop acres five years later. The number of hop farms grew from 68 to 817, and hop acreage expanded from 31,145 to 59,429 acres.
"This growth has not only led to interesting changes in the locations of hop farms across the U.S., but it has positioned the U.S. as the largest producer of hops globally, both in terms of acreage and production," said Elizabeth Dobis, a postdoctoral scholar at the Penn State-based Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, and lead author of the study.
Working with farm, brewery, and climate data, the researchers developed a statistical model to determine whether new craft breweries in a state between 2007 and 2017 resulted in a larger number of hop producers and hop acres planted, by both new and existing growers in that state. They built a time-lag into their model to identify the effect of new breweries over time. They also controlled for other variables that may influence farmers to start growing hops, such as average farm size, average net farm income, and climate.
Their findings, which were published recently in the Journal of Wine Economics, are correlational and do not point to a clear cause-and-effect. However, the time-lag built into the model indicates that the growth in breweries preceded the growth in hop farms, said Dobis.
One possible explanation for the trend is that the growing consumer demand for locally sourced food and beverages encourages craft brewers to seek out locally grown ingredients, said Schmidt.
"While most craft breweries serve a local market, they haven't always sourced local ingredients for their beers," Schmidt said. "But if you're a brewer looking to differentiate yourself in an increasingly crowded market, sourcing ingredients locally is an approach that some brewers have found to be effective."
For example, in a project unrelated to this study, Penn State Extension's Kristy Borrelli and Maria Graziani conducted focus groups with Pennsylvania craft brewers, who reported that sourcing ingredients locally helps them connect with their customers' sense of place and preference for a flavor profile that is unique to the region.
If more brewers are looking for hops grown nearby, then more farmers may be willing to try growing them, even if only on a small scale. For instance, in Pennsylvania only 17 farms reported hop production in 2017, and their combined acreage is small--only 21 acres in all, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture.
Looking forward, the researchers said that they will collaborate with Penn State Extension to identify the specific attributes and price points that Pennsylvania craft brewers are looking for in order to help inform farmers' production decisions.
The Role of Craft Breweries in Expanding (Local) Hop Production
Tien Ferreira, 4, of Fairfield knew just what to do. She donned her special outfit, a blue...
Tien Ferreira, 4, of Fairfield, displays her blue butterfly cape, as Bohart associate Greg Karofelas holds a collection of blue morpho butterflies. In back is Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera section. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Tien Ferreira, 4, of Fairfield, wearing her blue butterfly cape, looks at the blue morpho butterflies held by Bohart associate Greg Karofelas. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Brownie Girl Scout Troop 5520 members Lauren Wells (front),7, and Madeline Louis, 8, both of West Sacramento, look at a drawer of butterflies held by Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Before Brownie Girl Scout Troop 5520 toured the Bohart Museum, they met to discuss their insect-themed assignments. Here Lauren Wells (left), 7, and Madeline Louis, 8, display a handwritten poster. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Savanna Miller, 7, and her sister Olivia, 4, of Vacaville, are fascinated by the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. These include Birdwing butterflies (left), and the yellow ones are the Tithonus Birdwing – Ornithoptera tithonus – from New Guinea and nearby island of Irian Jaya, according to curator Jeff Smith.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Olivia Miller, 4, of Vacaville, is in awe. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera section of the Bohart Museum, shows some specimens to Vacaville residents Ginny Miller and her grandchildren, Savanna, 7, and Olivia, 4. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Olivia Miller, 4, and her sister, Savannah, 7, demonstrate how butterflies fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Lepidoptera section of the Bohart Museum houses nearly half-a-million butterflies and moths. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
January 19, 2020
The Dig Deep Farms Food Hub celebrated its Grand Opening on Friday, January 17th as part of All In Alameda County's new war on poverty. This truly remarkable and high-impacting “Food as Medicine” initiative has been created by many dedicated partners including Hillary Bass of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Dr. Steven Chen, the Chief Medical Officer of All In Alameda County, Rob Bennaton of the UCCE Alameda Urban Ag Program, Sasha Shankar and Troy Horton of Dig Deep Farms and Alameda County Supervisor, Wilma Chan. Many CASI folks know Dr. Chen from his work to scale and spread the Food as Medicine model that bundles together multiple interventions to improve health: a “food farmacy” with food prescriptions through a partnership with Dig Deep Farms, a “social needs pharmacy” to connect patients to community resources, and a group medical visit “behavioral pharmacy” that combines movement, nutrition, stress reduction and social support. A video that showcases Dr. Chen's work at the Hayward Wellness Clinic where he served as Medical Director before joining All In Alameda County, can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1pwSAEJ-bI&list=PLLjlfxpbNglYF2m7tvApfiR5NXParpvGP&index=2&t=69s This is a tremendously important and hugely successful effort that is improving the lives of many people in Alameda County.
Dr. Steven Chen, Chief Medical Officer of All In Alameda County, Dig Deep Farms Food Hub Grand Opening, San Leandro, CA, January 17, 2020
Dig Deep Farms Food Hub’s new location in San Leandro, CA, January 17, 2020