Presenter: Karen Hertsgaard, Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, NDSU, Fargo, ND.
Barley acreage in the U.S. has been declining steadily since the 1980s and shows no sign of rebounding. In fact, recent reports indicate a possible 35% decrease in production from the 2010 crop, which was a record low production year. However, excellent growing conditions produced record yields and quality in both 2009 and 2010, which has served to fill the short-term needs of maltsters and brewers. Competition from other crops, changes in U.S. farm policy, and disease have all contributed to the decline. The real problem is finding ways to address the decline and ensure a long-term supply of quality barley for U.S. companies. This presentation will address the causes of declining production, why this is a serious problem for the malting and brewing industries, and how barley stakeholders can address the problem. Multiple groups are working on methods to assist growers to produce more quality barley for malting and brewing. These include the development of new varieties and genetic research, investigations on cropping systems, development of new crop insurance products, and educational activities offered by the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences and commodity organizations. These projects will be presented and discussed in order to help identify which are potentially most helpful and to determine if other information is needed.
Karen Hertsgaard is the information specialist for the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, which is a national center providing education, outreach, and research for U.S. barley producers and the domestic and international consumers of U.S. malting barley, headquartered at North Dakota State University. Karen holds an M.S. degree from North Dakota State University in agronomy/small grain physiology and lives on an active farm south of Fargo, where wheat, sugar beets, corn, and soybeans are the main crops produced.