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“As a life-long resident of Loudoun County, I have seen the impact of growth and understand the importance of agriculture in keeping our green pastures and farmland,” Denise Rowell of Hamilton Hops told Loudoun Now. “Hop producers of this area will have great impact by creating jobs, supporting agricultural education opportunities and opening doors to new prospects in innovation for local farming.”
— Jason Sheaves (@jasonmaltose) July 8, 2017
Hamilton Hops, Dragon Hops and Black Hops have banded together to form the Loudoun Hops Association. The LHA will support one of the county’s fastest-growing industries by exploring opportunities for grants, investments and land prospects in Loudoun County.
This is music to the ears of our Rural Resources Coordinator, Gary Hornbaker, who has worked with other farm-based business groups to strengthen communication and collaboration.
“The hops growers are getting themselves organized in a better fashion for communication between one another,” Hornbaker explained. “The next step is developing more partnerships.
“As services diminish to the agriculture industry (agricultural machinery parts, welding, fence building, custom farm operations, bush-hogging and haymaking), it becomes even more important that collaboration among the agricultural segments becomes a priority. That they grow together to help themselves.”
Hornbaker has worked with farmers in Loudoun for more than 35 years, and has helped to organize groups like the Blue Ridge Cattleman’s Association, and has supported groups like the Loudoun Equine Association.
“We continue to work with the different segments trying to get them organized,” he said. “Traditional groups that I work with are in place and working pretty well.”
Now Hornbaker and Loudoun’s agricultural development team are working to create mutual goals and opportunities for cross-promotion.
“I put in a grant with the Virginia Beef Council to do a promotion of beef and beer here in Loudoun County,” he said. “What I would like to see is more of this cross-pollination and endorsement of the different industries.
“We’ve seen some of that on the farm tours, where the Loudoun Valley Sheep Producers have gone to a winery or a bed and breakfast to display their promotion in conjunction with that particular segment of agriculture. That’s good and it brings out the best in both.”
The decision on that grant will be made in October, and a beef-beer event could be held as early as the Spring of 2018.