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Stone Hill Farm
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State Conservation Engineer
ASABE | Membership | Sections & Districts | Minnesota
Treasurer: John Brach
John Brach, NRCS State Engineer (presented by Shannon Carpenter)
John Brach has served as the State Engineer for NRCS for the last several years. John has been a leader in his position and truly epitomizes NRCS's mission statement of "Helping People Help the Land. John leads by example as an Engineer. He has been proactive in involving staff people in the development of new conservation engineering standards as well as in the revising of standards. John knows how important it is to have technically accurate information when serving our MN clientele. John has been a recipient of the Federal Civil Servant of the year. You couldn't find a more passionate employee that wants to help people do the job right. John has a passion for conservation and getting the conservation applied correctly to the land. John is deserving of our recognition. It is my pleasure to award John Brach with the Honor Award for 2008.
John Brach, now president of MHGA, was also on that call that gave birth to an organization in March 2013, which by all accounts is altruistic for and on behalf of Minnesota-grown hops and those who want to get on board.
MHGA, says Brach, was created with a few simple aims. "Our whole purpose of existing is to help educate people interested in growing hops, get them connected with growers and suppliers, and to support research in Minnesota," he says. "And we've done a little bit of all of that this past year." Brach started looking into growing hops in 2011 for something to do as he was getting ready to retire from a career as an engineer for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "There was a lot going on in Wisconsin [...] but there really was not much happening in Minnesota," says Brach. Brach wanted to form a network and community of support in Minnesota like what he'd found in Wisconsin, but he didn't quite know how to start. "We had no idea who else was interested. I asked how many growers we needed for an association, and I recall Charlie saying we need at least two in order to make the name plural," says Brach. Brach took his own plunge into hops recently, buying land near Stillwater, where he put hops in the ground for the first time in spring of 2013, giving life to Stone Hill Farm. He and his wife, Kim, also keep bees and their business card happily reads "Hops & Honey." Brach believes that MHGA and Minnesota are at the start of something big. "I'm hoping [Minnesota's] growth isn't just linear-I'm hoping we double the state's acreage for each of the next few years-to get operations going where people can see it," says Brach. Currently, he estimates the state has under ten acres of hop yards, but he anticipates hosting hop yard tours some day soon for people to visit the farm and the very ground from which their beer is grown. There's John Brach's Stone Hill Farm near Stillwater; Mighty Axe Hops near Ham Lake; North Road Hops near Grand Marais; and Ocean Fields Vineyard, which, as you might guess, is a vineyard diversifying with hops.
District 3 Minnesota
Secretary/Treasurer, John Brach