According to Ficano, the success of growing hops in this area depends mainly on two things: whether brewers are willing to come to New York rather than the West Coast for their hops, and whether local farmers are interested and willing to invest in the production of hops.
Ficano and others at the presentation Wednesday said hops aren’t the easiest or cheapest crop to start up; farmers may not see a full yield until their third year of growth.
Steve Miller, a hops specialist from Cornell University, likened the initiating of hops growing to putting in a grape vineyard: it isn’t easy, and takes a lot of care including water, weeding and fertilizer. But Miller and others believe it can be worthwhile.
“It can create jobs, increase interest in locally grown products, and stimulate the economy. Brewers want New York state hops because it’s good quality,” Miller said. “If they will pay us instead of Washington state or Germany, it would absolutely be worth it.”