It starts with footprints®
in the field
To see how personally we take quality, look no further than the footprints in our fields. They are made by farmers monitoring the crop all season, gathering data and making adjustments accordingly. Footprints® is Yakima Chief Ranches’ (YCR) comprehensive brand management program of standards and practices that ensure our hops are grown and harvested with the highest levels of consistency, purity and excellence. As the name suggests, Footprints® is a program that reminds us of the importance of the ground we walk on, plant in and rely upon to sustain and grow our business. Each year, we walk thousands of acres to improve varietal purity and quality, working tirelessly with growers to make sure Yakima Chief Hops (and by extension, brewers) can be confident that they are receiving a unique, quality beer ingredient.
To ensure consistent varietal purity, YCR supplies true-to-type rootstock for each managed brand and works with growers to maintain clean, pure ground. New plantings are placed in fields that did not previously cultivate hops, or have been fumigated prior to planting any YCR managed brand. Yards are scouted throughout the year to identify and remove any off-types or males.
YCR works with each grower to ensure best management practices are applied to each variety. This includes optimal training dates, integrated pest management, soil fertility management and optimized harvest windows.
Harvest Quality & Traceability
Even the highest quality crop can be compromised with faulty harvest and/or poor kilning practices. YCR requires specific standards and measures for how varieties are harvested and tracked to provide suppliers and brewers with hops that are validated for type and quality.
Uniform requirements for hop yard registration, pest management records, delivery and other data are collected in a central tracking database. We provide detailed annual performance reports and rankings to growers for feedback and continuous improvement opportunities.
YCR is committed to providing brewers with the cleanest, highest quality hops possible. To maintain this commitment, YCR requires adherence to Yakima Chief Hops’ Green Chief® farm quality program and ongoing employee food safety training.
Pre-harvest and early harvest checklists and audits are executed to help each grower understand and address all food safety issues prior to harvest. Pesticide use is monitored to ensure all applications are administered within the legal limits for pesticide residues.
Cultivating the Next Generation
There is no better demonstration of our “Footprints® in the field” philosophy than YCR’s internship program. YCR recruits college students or recent graduates from top agricultural universities across the nation to spend the entire summer learning about hops and working to assure quality meets strict YCR standards. Interns walk an average of 55 miles per week – that’s 110,000 footprints – through thousands of acres of hops.
Since the start of the internship program, 16 interns have found position in either the hop or brewing industries.
*Ahtanum® YCR 1 CV, Citra® HBC 394 CV, Ekuanot® HBC 366 CV., Mosaic® HBC 369 CV., Palisade® YCR 4 CV , Simcoe® YCR 14 CV and Warrior® YCR 5 CV are registered trademarks of Yakima Chief Ranches (YCR) and/or Hop Breeding Company LLC (HBC).