Hoppy days here to stay

Australia’s biggest hop grower is moving its pellet processing interstate but farm manager Tom Parry says jobs in the Derwent Valley are safe.

TASMANIA’s biggest hop producer is out to calm concerns around its decision to move production interstate.

When Hops Products Australia announced last year it was moving its production to Victoria, a lot of Tasmanians were left wondering what impact it would on Tasmania’s biggest hop producer, Bushy Park Estate, in the Derwent Valley.

While the impact on employment was questioned, this week the company’s Tasmanian farm manager Tom Parry said job numbers would remain unaffected.

While Bushy Park Estate employs 26 permanent full- time workers year round, during harvesting the workforce grows to 140.

Mr Parry said the number of people employed in Tasmania would stay the same.

He said the move to Victoria made more sense in terms of productivity.

“Our pellet plant down here is about 60 years old and same as the other one in Victoria so they are just going to build a brand new one and run it all through that,” Mr Parry said.

“It makes perfect business sense. In terms of being able to deliver better quality hop pellets to the market, it’s definitely a big step forward.”

Bushy Park Estate is the biggest hop grower in Australia and produces an estimated 600 tonnes of hops each year.

Mr Parry reassures Tasmanians that Bushy Park Estate will continue to grow hops for the foreseeable future like it has been for the past 150 years.

“In my point of view, there’s no real change in anything,” he said.

“We will be able to deliver better hops to brewers… and make beer even more tasty.

“Because we’ve expanded our farms in Victoria we are just going to centralise our processing.”

Bushy Park Estate will still grow, harvest, dry and bale hops as per usual but will be sending the bales to Victoria for the hops to be turned into pellets.

“We grow them, pick them, then we press them into bale.

“After harvest we turn them into pellets so it’s just the turning them into pellets process that will happen there instead of doing it here.

“It’s easy to make it a doom and gloom and think that there’s employment leaving the Valley but that’s actually not the case at all,” Mr Parry said.