Farm-to-glass Classroom

Project Overview

ONE14-206
Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2014: $14,981.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Sarah Gordon
Carey Institute for Global Good

Annual Reports

Information Products

Commodities

  • Agronomic: barley, hops, rye, sorghum (milo), wheat

Practices

  • Education and Training: workshop
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, feasibility study, value added
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation

    Proposal abstract:

    In 2012, Governor Cuomo created a farm brewery license for breweries that purchase 20% of their hops and 40% of their other ingredients, including barely and other small grains, from New York State producers through 2018; the mandate escalates to a 90% domestic ingredient purchasing requirement by 2024. However, New York State-grown hop and malting grain supplies are so meager at this time they could easily be consumed by a single microbrewery.

    Recognizing this shortcoming, the Carey Institute for Global Good is developing programming to improve farmers’ technical capacity to raise hops and malt-grains, and augment ingredient supplies.  Dozens of farmers interested in expanding into hops and malt-grains have asked the Carey Institute to offer educational opportunities and technical expertise to establish themselves in the industry.  In step, the Farm-To-Glass Classroom workshop series will shed light on topics farmers have identified as requiring additional information, including:soil selection; fertilizer management; varietal selection; sourcing seed; weed, pest and disease control; harvesting; drying; storage; packaging; developing buyer relationships; conservation practices; organic growing; business planning; scale and profitability; insurance; quality control and assurance; and, other considerations. 

    The Carey Institute will engage brewers, maltsters, scientists, cooperative extension personnel, state agency officials, business planning consultants and other stakeholders to develop workshop curricula and participate as panelists to share experiential knowledge with farmers. Providing these opportunities to farmers will improve capacity and confidence to produce malt-grains and hops, unveil economic opportunities for partnering farm businesses, and increase supplies of New York State-grown brewing and distilling ingredients. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The primary goal of The Farm-To-Glass Incubator is to cultivate a future that reinvigorates New York State’s agricultural roots and rich brewing history, and supports the long-term viability of local farms, agri-tourism, and our regional economy.  In doing so, the Carey Institute’s first objective, and the focus of this partnership project, is to offer programming that improves farmers’ capacity and confidence to produce malt-grains and hops, in turn bolstering domestic supplies so farm breweries may satisfy regulatory ingredient purchasing requirements to maintain their licenses. Our work plan is as follows:

    Objective 1: To improve farmers’ knowledge about growing, harvesting and marketing malt-grade barley, other specialty grains and hops in New York State.

    Methods:  In order to improve hop and malt supplies, the Carey Institute for Global Good will provide educational opportunities to partnering farmers to learn more about malt grain and hop production, harvesting, processing, storage, marketing, licensing and business planning.  Providing this information to farmers will improve their knowledge of, and confidence to enter, the malt grain and hops growing industry, in turn increasing ingredient supplies New York State’s licensed farm breweries. 

    Topics identified from farmers requiring further information include: soil selection; fertilizer management; varietal selection; sourcing seed; weed control; pest control; disease control; harvesting; processing; drying; storage; packaging; developing buyer relationships; applicable conservation practices; organic growing; business planning; scale and profitability; insurance; quality control; quality assurance; structure design; and, other considerations.  Additional topics will be integrated into the curriculum as they are identified by farmers during the course of the Carey Institute’s outreach; furthermore, panelists will have the opportunity to answer other key questions from farmers during a question and answer session at the conclusion of each seminar. 

    Additionally, each seminar will be recorded and made available on the Internet to the public; likewise, printed materials distributed at the seminar will be digitized and made available on the Internet to the public.

    The Carey Institute for Global Good and its partners will develop a curriculum and assemble a panel of experts to educate farmers about growing malting barley, other specialty grains and hops in New York State in a seminar setting at the Carey Conference Center in Rensselaerville, New York.  Specific workshops will include a one-day workshop on barley and other specialty grains production, a one-day workshop on hops production, a one-day workshop on business planning, licensing and marketing coupled with a networking session for farmers, brewers, maltsters and distillers. The curriculum will be tailored to address production basics, with particular focus on addressing questions and issues identified by partnering farmers in surveys, outreach and discussions with the Carey Institute. 

    Evaluation and Measures:  The Carey Institute for Global Good will evaluate its by utilizing debriefing sessions and written surveys to collect quantitative and qualitative data regarding participants’ immediate reactions to each program session, their educational experience as a whole, and the degree to which farmers’ participation influenced malt-grain and hop production. Evaluation surveys and debriefings will be administered on-site at the beginning and close of each session, as well as online or by mail six months after each seminar. 

    Measures for each iterative evaluation are as follows: 1) Farmers’ present level of participation in the malting barley, specialty grain, and hop growing industry (i.e. scoping, actively farming, number of acres in production); 2) farmers’ level of comfort and knowledge about hop and malting grain production considerations, including soil selection, fertilizer management, varietal selection, sourcing seed, weed control, pest control, disease control, harvesting, processing, drying, storage, packaging, applicable conservation practices, and other identified topics measured on a scale of 1 to 5; 3) farmers’ level of comfort and knowledge about business planning, licensing and regulatory considerations, including developing buyer relationships, scale and profitability, insurance and other identified topics measured on a scale of 1 to 5; and, 4) farmers’ recommendations for future educational topics and opportunities.  Conducting and coding iterative surveys prior to each seminar, immediately after each seminar, and six months following each seminar will reveal trends and changes in farmers’ attitudes and knowledge regarding growing malting barley, other specialty malting grains and hops.

    Objective 2:  To increase supplies of New York State grown malting barley, other specialty malting grains and hops.

    Methods:  It is hypothesized that providing information about malt grain and hop production, harvesting, processing, storage, marketing, licensing and business planning to farmers will improve their knowledge of, and confidence to enter, the malt grain and hops growing industry, in turn increasing ingredient supplies New York State’s licensed farm breweries. 

    Evaluation and Measures:  The Carey Institute will administer written evaluations to farmers prior to each seminar, and 6 months after the completion of each seminar to measure changes in barley, other specialty malting grains and hops plantings and yields.  Quantitative measures will include acres planted, acres harvested, and the quantified yield of each harvest.  Additionally, the Carey Institute will survey farmers for qualitative information regarding harvesting, processing and storage techniques employed by farmers, and the success thereof, to update and optimize educational materials made available to farmers via the Internet.

    Information revealed through evaluations will be reviewed, coded for recurring qualitative themes and quantitative trends, and reported.  Furthermore, findings will be utilized to shape and implement recommendations that optimize the Farm-To-Glass Classroom’s programming and online technical resources, contributing to the Carey Institute’s goal to continually improve the value of its services.  

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.