6th meridian
hop farm
Yankton, South Dakota
A Family Hop Farm
Welcome frome the whole 6th Meridian team: Ryan, Michelle, Ty, Kieran, Declynn, and Brock. 
Way back in 2014, we had outgrown our suburban Omaha home and started looking for a way to get out of the city and back to our farming roots.  We --Michelle, an accomplished cook and caterer, and Ryan, remote engineer, bike nut, and excessive eater -- realized that we had an open road to build our forever farm on a small 80 acre patch near Yankton, South Dakota.  The question was what would it be?

Hops.  Having logged serious hours at gastro pubs, breweries and small town bars as well as some light backyard experience with growing hops and fermentations, we invested some time to understand what it would take to build a hop farm in Yankton.  Well not really a lot of time; 2 weeks of reading sketching and dreaming. Then we put our house up for sale. We pulled our camper north to Yankton to build our first barn -- a modest structure in which we will dry, process, and store hops on on side and live in the other.  Construction started. Then it stopped. Then it started. Winter came and we held on in our camper, working every weekend to complete our first barn and home. The following spring we rejoiced as we moved in. Shortly after we sold the camper; we haven't looked at one since.

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The first year was intense to say the least. We planted 1.8 acres of hops and set poles with our little farm tractor.   We didn't immediately have a well or irrigation so the first month of watering was constant work of tanking water and running hoses.  All the weeding was done by hand and we strung our first year hops with baling twine that was a mess to maintain.  Harvest came and we hoped for a big family and firiends event to come out and pick the field clean in a few days. Nope! We picked and picked and not even a dent in the field.  We look back on ourselves now already and shake our heads in disbelief. 

A week after the first season ended we already had to change our strategy, plans and finance even more investment.

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We purchased a Hopster 5p to get a handle on our picking. It surprised us that numerous other small growers in the area immediately called on us for help picking there hops as well. The little red machine has traveled through out the state over hundreds of miles picking local hops.

We addd more hops, and more variety. We hope to fill a portfolio of hops that highlight different aroma profiles and have options for smooth bittering.

Our focus from day one has been to produce a quality product for small brewers and that requires post processing. We brought in a small pellet mill to handle the duties for our farm and a few of our neighbors.  We're proud to say that our hops are grown and processed locally!