Driving down U.S. 550 between Montrose and Ridgway in southwest Colorado, the hop bines are visible from the road. This time of year, during harvest season, they stretch 18 feet tall, climbing the trellises that farmers Chris DellaBianca and Audrey Gehlhausen hang by hand each spring.
Cousins Tim Byrne and Kory Byrne don’t have a background in farming, but when they decided to try growing hops, a flowering plant used in beer, it has become an adventure that has expanded beyond just a hobby.
Farmers who grow niche products face a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Two farmers shared their stories at the 2021 Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ag Professionals Conference.