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The world of craft beer has been growing consistently for years. This has not only provided us with a seemingly endless supply of new beers to try, it has also caused an increased demand for the ingredients used to brew this much-loved beverage. For those in the farming world, that means hops and grain have become increasingly hot commodities. If you’re looking to break into farmland investing and have chosen to do so in 2023, you’re probably wondering, how much money can you make on 1 acre growing hops?
Below you’ll find the information you need to answer that question so you can confidently determine if you’re ready to dedicate your resources to growing this crop. From the initial investment required to get a hops farm off the ground, to incentives that make this crop work for your needs, to your potential annual revenue, everything you need to determine if hops farming is a worthy investment for you can be found below.
What are hops?
Hops are one of the four key ingredients required to make any style of beer, along with water, grain, and yeast. Hops are a cousin of the cannabis plant and share a similar “skunky” characteristic that people typically either love or hate. This plant is a perennial with green, cone-shaped flowers that have yellow pods containing essential oils, which help give flavor to beer.
Although every beer has its own unique flavor profile, be it light and easy to drink, aggressive and bitter, dark and full, or even malty and sweet, hops play a role in establishing its taste. Thankfully, hops grow in enough varieties and can be incorporated in different ways so that their signature bitterness isn’t always the dominant flavor.
The upfront investment for starting a hops farm
If you’re looking to invest in growing hops, you’ll probably want to know what it costs to do so. We’ll look at the factors that impact the cost in terms of a 1-acre plot, so you’ll be able to quickly scale up or down based on the amount of money you’re looking to invest or the amount of land you intend to use for this purpose.
To get an operation started from scratch, farmers must invest in the right tools and equipment, including:
- Irrigation system
- Farming equipment
- Labor for planting and harvesting
- Equipment for pelletizing and packaging your harvested hops
The cost for each of these items will vary based on location and access to second-hand materials. On average, farmers can expect to spend between $12,000 and $15,000 to get a 1-acre operation off the ground. Since most farms are larger, however, farmers typically face significantly higher initial costs.
How much money can you earn with a 1 acre hops farm?
Once you have all the necessary materials and are ready to start growing, how much money can you earn with a 1 acre hops farm and how long will it take to produce a full crop? Unfortunately, you’re not likely to see more than a few hops in your first year of production, as your plants will need to mature. By year two, however, you can expect to harvest a partial crop, and your land should produce a full crop by year three.
Since specialty crops like hops are in high demand, some farmers are successful in selling their harvest at a premium. Some small-scale hops farmers have been reported to sell their crops for as much as $16 per pound, though the average price in the United States in 2022 was a little over $6 per pound. Since you can expect to yield an average harvest of 1,500 pounds of dried hops per acre, you’ll likely be able to earn between $9,000 and $24,000 on your harvest, depending on how you price and market your product.
Is hops farming right for you?
While investing in hops farming has great potential to earn you significant profits, the process takes effort, time, and a significant chunk of change to get started. However, depending on your climate and where you sell your harvest, you could grow significantly more than the average hops farm and increase your revenue by tailoring your product to the right customer.
For those who set out to learn how much money you can make on 1 acre growing hops, remember that there are a lot of factors at work in determining the numbers listed in this article, including weather, the variety of hops you’re growing, and the quality of the land on which you’re growing the crop. If you want to break into farmland investing without having to actually plant, grow, and harvest hops on your own, remember that there are many platforms designed to make agricultural investment easier. These allow you to invest in and profit from farming activities, without having to buy all the supplies upfront. You may be able to see returns more quickly, too.
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