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Despite COVID, Hops have record year

By Jake Putnam

Boise– Despite COVID-related shutdowns, Idaho hop acreage and production increased again in 2020.

According to the National Ag Stats, Idaho’s hop crop is the biggest in history, with another thousand acres planted in 2020, despite COVID. 

“We started in Central Cove in 2016, we started that year with 60 acres, said Colbie Libsack, of Central Cove Hop. We had just two blends at that time now 2020 we have 585 acres and six different varieties of hops.”

With a five-week harvest season, Idaho Hop production is now second in the nation. JC Watson Company runs and operates this hop farm, and this record crop is all headed to craft beer, and its a money maker:

“We started the hop operation to try and diversify off the row crops and it's just another side of the business that we wanted to expand,” said Libsack.

Idaho’s hop production totaled more than 17.2 million pounds; up from 17 million last year. Idaho now 2nd in the nation climbing for the ninth straight year.

“The dry down process, we’re trying to dry this hop right here, you want these hops at nine and a half percent,” added Libsack.

The new drying, sorting, and packing facility is State of the Art, making Central Cove a player in one of Idaho’s promising, new power crops.

In just 5 years, the total value of Idaho hop production increased from $31 million to an estimated $100 million this year. Hops ranked as Idaho’s No. 9 farm commodity last year in terms of total farm-gate receipts.