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Farming Hops

[Bob>they look a lot better this year.
Bill>oh yeah.] Bob>Jim and I have been in farming our whole
lives. Jim>my brother and I started this farm, BOHICA
Hops, after our mom passed away in 2009, and we’ve been trying to raise
quality hops ever since. With the key emphasis on trying.
[laughs] Bill>All of us that are working in it
know a lot more about hops than when we started with
it a few years ago – that’s for sure. [Bob>That’s what we can’t figure out, why you know…] Jim>Ten years ago, Bob and I didn’t
know anything about hops. [Bob>These are the toughest plant –
the cashmere.] Jim>Where are you gonna get the information
without traveling out to the Pacific Northwest and asking the big guys – who probably don’t
want to tell you that much anyhow. I think the best source of information would be right here with the research team
that you guys have in Madison. Bill>Really our job is to provide the University resources to the folks to help them improve their farm operations in their daily lives and I think that we really work hard to do that. That’s
a big reason why I work for extension is because I like the ability that to help folks
and I like the ability that I know that our information that we’re sharing with them has
passed the rigors of the scientific review. It is unbiased, and you know and
it’s solid information. I know I look forward to being able to continue to do that that under Madison and I think that the folks that we’re working with there, they have those
same interests as well. Bob>There are roughly a hundred
growers in the state. They’re all getting that knowledge
through the UW System. If we didn’t have some of that information,
we can just as likely be wiped out. We’ve got a good relationship.
Bill’s pretty much, whenever I call him, he’s either working on somebody else’s alfalfa
plot or their corn plot. Bill>We got about 25 years of extension
experience and you know the opportunities to see and work with different things is a
nice part of the job because it’s not the same thing every day and we learn as we go
to help folks out in our counties. Bob>We can come out here one day and these
vines are perfect. They’re dark green and lush and growing and everything looks great.
You come out two days later and …why are they turning brown? But we’ve gotten so that we can call Bill,
“Bill, what’s going on here?” and he’ll say, “let me send a sample out, or let me
get some answers for you, and he’ll get right back to us and right quick
on what to do. [Bill>This isn’t zero, is it?] Bill>With the wide variety of topics that
we get asked about within our counties, there’s no way we can know it all just right off the
top of our heads, So it’s a good combined effort that
brings a lot of people’s talents and resources and the interest together to help address the needs of the folks in Wisconsin. With the hops project, we were able
to connect in with some of our entomologists and plant pathologists and our
nutrient management folks to all work together. Just having them as part of this program
brings a lot of positive aspects to it and we all win from that. Jim>You know every day that we learn
something new and anything we can do to make the hops
better we’re interested in. I don’t know where it’s going but we’re on the train and sometimes it’s a crazy train. Bob>It’s challenge. It’s super labor-intensive.
I don’t know – it’s just the love for what you do. Life of a farmer. [Tractor engine hums]

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