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Hops crops to be tested in Que. climate

Quebec microbrewers could eventually source hops locally for their beers if a publicly-backed crop research project pans out as hoped.

The federal and Quebec governments on Thursday pledged grants of about $150,000 and $93,449 respectively to the Centre de recherche et de developpement technologique agricole de l’Outaouais (CREDETAO) for its project in the regional county of Pontiac.

The project will involve growing 10 varieties of hops under local climate conditions with a view to develop the crop in Quebec, the federal government said.

The 10 varieties, chosen for the project based on the needs of specific Quebec microbrewers, will be analyzed for their production potential, the government said.

Two producers in the Outaouais region will host the test plots on their land, the province said in its release.

“Once this project is completed, the methods and results will be summarized in a production guide for farmers who are interested in this crop,” CREDETAO president Christian Girard, a producer at St-Sixte, northeast of Gatineau, said in the federal release.

The province’s microbrewery sector is in a boom phase, Pontiac MNA Charlotte L’Ecuyer said in the province’s release, adding that this project could clear the path for brewers to source their hops locally.

The region already hosts two farms growing hops experimentally, she noted.

The federal funds for the Pontiac project will flow through the five-year (2009-14), $163 million Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, which the Conseil pour le developpement de l’agriculture du Quebec (CDAQ) delivers within the province.

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