Asked March 05, 2015, 10:30 AM EST
I;m looking for a help and guidance in discovering if their are any grants available for a single woman farm owner in starting a hop-yard in very small acreage. I live in a small town in Western, MA. I only have 4 acres and have a small area, about 1 acre, where I would like to grow hops for local home brewers. Enclosed are two pictures of a "trial" of a single hop rhizome planted a year before. It grew phenomenally without any care whatsoever. There were no insects or diseases. Is it feasible to start growing hops without any capital, simply by using wood, trees, and supplies already present on my farm? I have horses, goats, chickens and bat guano, that all combine to make beautiful compost. I have a huge barn. Very little equipment. An antique 1950s Farmall cub, and my own two hands. (We also have chickens and sell eggs.) Does anyone have a template for growing hops for profit on a very small scale, by a single person? Any suggestions?
Also, What kind of hops grow best in western MA? I live on a property that has been farmed since the 1700s. It is adjacent to the Scantic River, a small stream sized river that overflows onto my north pasture in the Spring. (by the way, I have used NO pesticides of any kind in the last 4 years. I am interested in growing hops organically I am looking for any recommendations, resources and advice. I need to make some farm income this year,( as I am medically disabled). Also I need help in finding government agencies that are EASY to access online. There seem to be tons of them, but I find them difficult to navigate after the first few pages. Where should I start? Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thank You.
Hampden County Massachusetts