The Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference was a great success in its first year, held in Grand Rapids April 10-11. Hosted by Michigan State University Extension, MSU AgBioResearch and Michigan Brewers Guild, the event was the first of its kind, and it immediately filled up – pulling in 333 attendees. The craft beer industry boom has made this an exciting time for hop and barley producers, providing more opportunities for growth and added need for collaboration.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, attended. She delivered opening remarks on April 10, and even featured the conference in her newsletter the week following. Her presence at the conference, as well as extensive media coverage, helped spread the word about the great work being done among the producers.
Betsy Braid, educational program coordinator with Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Event Services, said “Attendees were all very excited, especially as the industry continues to grow. It was so successful that they are starting to talk about holding a 2016 conference.”