Wild Hop Inspires Wiles’ Next Generation Farm
PLATTSMOUTH, NEWS CHANNEL NEBRASKA – The development of a former Plattsmouth golf course into a 41-acre hop farm and resource for the craft beer industry was inspired by a botanical discovery in Nebraska’s Platte Valley.
Bruce and Annette Wiles were among those appearing at Monday’s Plattsmouth City Council public hearing regarding a zoning change for the land east of Highway 75 along Club View Road.
Annette Wiles said Bruce is a third-generation farmer and they wanted to stay engaged in agriculture, when they began inquiring with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln about alternative crops.
Wiles: “With the craft beer movement going crazy and knowing that you can grow hops in Nebraska we settled on that. The star of the whole thing was when we found a wild hop growing around here in Plattsmouth.”
Hops manager Silas Clarke said multiple hops varieties are already being grown on the property and about 20 additional acres will go into production as the property develops.
Also proposed are a banquet hall, “Great Lawn” for receptions, a hops production plant and lodging that includes 10 cabins and five spots for recreational vehicles.
Wiles said the couple shares neighbors’ concerns about noise and traffic, but plans to make the property their home, as well. She said they expect to bring some life to Plattsmouth by making it the hops capital of the state.
Wiles: “So we are working with the university on looking at a new variety, developing a new variety for Nebraska. We know the hop that we found, the wild hop, is disease resistant, pest resistant, so we’re working to build upon that.”
Attorney Jerry Slusky said it is the biggest development in Plattsmouth since the Hyvee store.
Slusky: “It’s going to bring jobs, economic development. It’s going to spawn more development around it and it’s going to make Plattsmouth the hops capital in Nebraska and hopefully the hops capital of the Midwest.”
Clarke said massive festivals are not envisioned, but the Great Lawn and banquet hall would accommodate up to 400 people.
Those also speaking at the public hearing included David Stuart, Bob Feldhouser, County Commissioner Janet McCartney, Dawn Faircloth-Quinlin, Patti Peterson, Doug Knight and Jerry Walsh.