Green Chief® is our farmer best practices program coordinated in partnership with Yakima Chief Ranches. Our pioneering grower-owners created the Green Chief® internal farm quality and sustainability management program in 2008 as a collaborative effort to achieve long-term goals in day-to-day farm operations. The Yakima Chief Hops Best Practices Team was then formed to promote and develop strong baselines, guidelines and practices for traceability, harvest food safety, data collection and reporting.
Over the years, Green Chief® has expanded to include more than 25 farms, both allied and grower owners, collaborating on environmentally and socially responsible solutions. The team works to ensure the ongoing quality and competitiveness of our offerings, even if that means rejecting product that does not meet our strict standards. With meetings held regularly, these gatherings are intended to promote more sustainable, high-quality hop farming and collaboration between all hop growers regardless of ownership.
BEST HARVEST PRACTICES
Modeled after USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) requirements, Yakima Chief Hops’ Farm Quality Plan and Best Harvest Practices Checklist were developed in collaboration with growers to ensure facility readiness for hop harvesting. Each grower delivering to Yakima Chief Hops or Yakima Chief Ranches is audited before and during harvest to identify key improvements, assess the facility and implement feedback for continuous improvement.
Yakima Chief Hops collects an extensive amount of data on how hops are grown and processed, including field location, kilning data, harvest windows, conditioning and sprays applications. This useful data is provided to growers via Agrian software for “field to fork” reporting, sharing of information, field mapping and farm management tools.
A comprehensive analysis is conducted for every lot of hops received, including moisture, brewing values, oil content and a gas chromatography (GC) profile. Combined with grower data and brewer feedback, these results are reported to growers annually, offering insight into best management practices, varietal variation, trends and brewer preferences. Yakima Chief Hops also reviews the results of the Best Harvest Practices Checklist with growers on an annual basis.
BEST PRACTICES TEAM
With the goal of promoting collaboration and excellence among growers, regularly scheduled Best Practices meetings are held between spring and harvest, with an off-season wrap-up and reporting meeting. All growers are invited to discuss topics ranging from cost control and food safety to cultural best practices.