USDA Public Hop Program Welcomes New Breeder

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The Brewers Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Kayla Altendorf has joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) public hop research program as of May 11, 2020. Dr. Altendorf is stationed at the Washington State University Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (WSU-IAREC) where she will be conducting breeding and genetics research in hops. She joins Dr. John Henning and Dr. Dave Gent (both stationed in Corvallis, Oregon) as the third full-time USDA hop program scientist, and will be the first such stationed in Prosser, Washington in many years.

Rows of hops on a farm

“Dr. Altendorf is a strong and exciting addition to our unit and to hop research,” said Dr. Ryan Hayes, USDA-ARS public hop program leader. Technical staff from the Brewers Association participated as stakeholders during recruitment, and are likewise excited to work with Dr. Altendorf. The Brewers Association continues to prioritize the development of aroma hop varieties with superior yield and disease resistance, as well as varieties with heat and drought tolerance that meet grower needs over time.

As recently as three years ago, the public hop research program was targeted for reduction, and program funding was discretionary and uncertain. Four years of federal lobbying efforts led by the Brewers Association, Hop Research Council, Hop Growers of America, and an industry-wide coalition of grower commissioners, dealers, and brewers have resulted in permanent appropriated program funding, and provided for the recent staff expansion.

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