NY growers betting the farm on a fickle grain

From Lancaster Farming.com
Malting barley is an essential ingredient for brewing beer. Since its recent reintroduction to New York agriculture after several decades of prohibition -- and disease-induced dormancy -- it has also been very challenging to grow to market grade.

Those challenges, paired with the rising demands of the state’s three-year-old Farm Brewery Law, dominated discussion at the recent Southern Tier Farm Brewery Summit. Put on by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County [Binghamton area], the summit brought together brewers, grain growers and malt house owners for formal and informal conversations with educators and experts from Cornell University and Hartwick College, and officials from state regulatory agencies. ...

Designed to spur demand for locally grown products and create new business opportunities in and around the brewing industry, the New York farm brewery law has provided tax and fee cuts while easing some regulations for brewers who must use New York state-grown ingredients. It also features an escalating mandate for inclusion of New York ingredients -- at least 60% of a beer’s hops and 60% of its other ingredients will have to be New York-grown by 2018. Those numbers will jump to 90% on January, 1, 2024. Currently, the threshold for New York-grown ingredients is 20%.
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