Organarchy uses EQIP like Kick-Starter
Trellis lines with Hops vines stretching skyward, a seasonal high tunnel structure set on rails to provide 3 different growing areas and certification for the first organic hops farm east of the Mississippi River all can be found tucked away in a remote part of Allegany County, Maryland. Organarchy is an up-and-coming agri-business that is bringing new crops and marketing technologies to the region.
Owner and co-operator Solomon Rose along with Dylan Krzywonski have taken a conventional beef farm and used their unique skill sets to take agriculture production and marketing to the next level. I think they would both agree that you are responsible for your success. It starts with a vision and then charting a way to see that vision come to reality by adding all the needed pieces. That is exactly what Solomon and Dylan have done.
At a very early stage, they sought out what USDA programs could help the vision materialize. By using the EQIP program, they began making the needed changes on the land. Part of the goal was to transition from a traditional farm to one that was organically certified. Here is a list of some of the projects funding through EQIP
Organic Transition CAP
Seasonal High Tunnel
Conservation Crop Rotation
The marketing plan includes some new and unique ways to place Organarchy on the agri-business map. They are selling some of their hops directly to home brewers as either live plants “crowns” or harvested crop in vacuum packed bags. Some of their crop is purchased by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. They have established an off shoot consulting business that will come and set up a hops field on a third party field. A hops “hub” has been established in Virginia for local processing called Lucketts Mill and Hopworks. And for the 2nd year in a row, they have hosted “Mashout”. This is a weekend gathering of home brewers where they can again direct market their organically ground hops as well as showcase their operation. Online sales and social media have been great to help this agri-business launch successfully and EQIP help build the launching pad.
By Ben Cooper, Conservation Planner for MDA working out of the Cumberland, MD field office.