Growing barley for the love of it

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Fred Hopkin is a member of the Briess Grower Advisory Committee which is comprised of grower representatives from Wyoming and Montana, as well as Briess representatives. The committee provides a direct link between Wyoming and Montana barley growers and Briess. Meeting several times a year, they discuss issues that affect both the growers and Briess such as contracts, delivery, quality issues and assurance, agronomic techniques, and how they can grow the best barley crop in Wyoming and Montana. “It is a privilege for me to be able to represent the growers here in this area,” Fred says. “The growers who grow barley for Briess are independent, hardworking, they do what they do more for the love of the crops they grow and for the lifestyle than for any other reason and it’s a pleasure for me to represent them.”

Fred Hopkin is a third generation farmer from east of Powell in a community formerly known as Penrose. Fred’s grandfather, Fred, moved here from Utah shortly after the area was homesteaded and bought his first farm.

Fred grew up on the family farm thinning beets, irrigating, driving equipment and doing many of the chores farm kids from his generation did, and always just assumed that he would return to the farm one day. After graduating from college with a degree in finance in 1983, farm life had lost some of its appeal. Eventually the allure of his roots drew him back, and in 1985, shortly after getting married, Fred moved back to the family farm.

He worked for his father for six years before assuming full management responsibility for the farm in 1991. Since that time the farm has grown in size and diversity, and includes 3,600 acres of irrigated land in Park and Big Horn counties, including his grandfather’s original farm that he bought 100 years ago.

In addition to 900 acres of barley, Fred also grows sugar beets, pinto beans, confection sunflower seed, corn, mustard seed, alfalfa seed and raises Angus cattle. He has been involved in community and ag-related organizations and has served as a director of the Big Horn Basin Beet Growers Association, vice chair of the Western Sugar Research Committee, president of the Wyoming Alfalfa Seed Growers Association, president of the Elk Water Users Association, vice president of the Wyoming Crop Improvement Association, and served two elected terms to the Powell Hospital Board. Fred and his wife Carrie have four children and one grandchild.

Posted in The Briess Beat | Tagged , , , , , , , .
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