Brenton Patrick’s Story
I have always had a fondness for the nurturing ways of farming growing up. I took agriculture classes in high school but never farmed commercially. I was worried as I listened to older farmers complain about how difficult it was to make money at it. In the last 5 years I have been researching and testing ways to get land so my family (wife and son) can enjoy the rural life and I can live a dream of farming. Inspired by a trip to Yakima in Washington, I started testing different varieties of hops in the backyard (central valley – Merced). My dad believed in and liked this business idea so much that he worked hard to help get it started. He helped me get a lawyer and form a corporation, get an accountant, install the large pole and cable structure needed to grow hops, work the soil, and talk to breweries with negotiating price. This story has a sad ending as he died in Feb. I spent lots of time with him and knew him well – no regrets. The hop yard and business now has special meaning and I have some new inspiration to make it work.
The hops plants will produce root cuttings that can be used to replant but I want to do this next year after established. I need $1,250 for organic root stock as I\’m certified organic w/ CCOF and need to get organic root stock. I purchase from an organic supplier in Colorado (Rising Sun Farms). I\’m also changing over from flood irrigation to micro irrigation and have been putting in emitters, a sand filter, and irrigation line. I need another $1,250 to change over to a drip system. This will help me expand my plants to a point where I can get more root stock from my plants\’ root system from here on forward. The micro irrigation system will help me save water and money in the end. I want to get to the point where this business can sustain itself (and I see it happening in the next year) but I need some help getting there. This is only ¾ of an acre but I can use these roots to propagate future acreage.
After I\’m more sure that this hops business will be a success and it has been established, then I would like to share my knowledge with other farmers in the area. I really think that with enough water hops would do well in the Central Valley. There is very little chance of Downey Mildew with our heat (traditional issue with hops). I have tried several varieties that work and do not work but I think there needs to be more research done on hops growing at an academic level. I know some people at the newest UC campus (UC Merced) and after established I would like to sponsor some hops research of some sort (Merced Community College maybe). I get more numbers of harvests and harvest amounts in Merced than I read they get in Oregon and Washington. I really think this could be a new revenue source and product for the valley. The name of my corp. is Hip Hops Inc.