Skip to Main Content

AFS 401

A Research Guide for Agricultural & Food Systems 401

Project Description

Environmental Impact Assessment of Hops

Yakima Chief Hops & Yakima Chief Ranches

Primary Contacts: Levi Wyatt and Joe Catron and Drew Carlson Rothe

Best way to reach the contacts: and and

Company Background:

Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) is a 100% farmer-owned global hop supplier with a mission to connect the multi-generational family hop farms of the Pacific Northwest with the world’s finest brewers. YCH strives to make continuous improvements across the entire supply chain, from collaborating with farmers and breeders to improve hop quality and develop new varieties, to pioneering new hop processing technologies and research.

Yakima Chief Ranches (YCR) was founded in the late 1980’s when three hop-farming families came together to form a hop production, research, and breeding farm in the Yakima Valley. Initial breeding results from the program were fruitful, leading to the selection and release of several new hop cultivars. YCR is proud to work with over 30 farms in the Pacific Northwest to ensure a quality hop supply for the global market. YCR’s mission is to create, grow, and protect value for all within the YCR footprint.

Project Summary: At Yakima Chief Hops and Yakima Chief Ranches, we pride ourselves as champions of innovation, dedicated to delivering unparalleled value to both growers and brewers.  

This initiative focuses on creating validated environmental footprint data for various hop varieties under the Hop Breeding Company portfolio. The goal of this project is to assist growers in identifying hop varieties that demand fewer inputs, thereby contributing to a smaller environmental footprint on their farms. Simultaneously, this effort is designed to empower brewing customers with insightful information, enabling them to make informed choices based on environmental metrics in addition to aroma, when selecting hops for their flagship and seasonal beers. 

This project would require students to convert grower data into carbon emissions, following a recognized and validated emissions standard. The grower input data will include spray applications, fuel usage, and energy use associated with growing and processing hops at the farm. This project would require students to perform an in-depth analysis of the impacts of growing hops at the farm-level and provide best practices for creating a life cycle analysis for hop varieties.

Join us on this journey towards sustainable brewing practices, where agronomics and sustainability intersect to redefine the landscape of the brewing industry.

Project Goals will include the following (to be scoped by the project team)

  1. Identify verified carbon emission standards (such as greenhouse gas protocol) to assign to inputs required to grow hops. Include considerations for spray applications, fuel consumption for farm vehicles, energy use for production facilities at the hop farms.
  2. Compare emission standards.
  3. Perform analysis of hop varieties based on inputs to assist YCH & YCR on determining most environmentally friendly varieties.


Search Tips & Examples

This project asks a lot of different question. Below are some keywords and search statements that may help you answer these questions.

To learn more about developing keywords and search strings check out this link.

Example of Potential Search: 

Note: The following keywords and search strings were just a quick ideas I came up with. You may come up with better ones within your group.

Search #1

Title: hops


Title: spray* OR watering

Here is what that search looks like in the WSU Libraries' catalog (link)  

Search #2

Title: hops


Title: sustain* OR emission* OR footprint OR pollut*

Here is what that search looks like in the WSU Libraries' catalog (link) 

Search #3

Title: hops


Title: "pacific northwest" OR PNW OR oregon OR palouse OR "eastern washington" OR  "columbia plateau" OR "columbia basin" OR Washington


Any Field: farm* OR grow* OR crop* OR harvest*

Here is what that search looks like in the WSU Libraries' catalog (link) 

Find Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Research

Find Peer-Reviewed Research

If you are interested in seeing a full list of agricultural databases available at WSU check out this link.

If you want to see all of the databases available, across disciplines, check out this link.

Find Industry & Corporate Info

For your project, you may need to examine corporate and industry profiles, trade publications, press releases, laws and court cases. etc.

Below are a few corporate and business databases to get you started. 

Helpful Industry Resources

  • Nexis Uni - Provides information on U.S. and international private and public companies. Info may include: Company description and history, competitors, subsidiaries, size, officers and directors, annual stock price averages, and more. This database also allows you to search sate and federal court cases.
  • Business Source Complete - Allows you to search company and industry information across popular press, trade journals, product reviews, and much more. Also provides information regarding company and industry profiles. 

For more in-depth information regarding corporate research, take a look at the WSU Libraries Company Research Library Guide. 

Find Data

Here are a few links to assist you with finding legitimate data regarding hops and carbon emissions

Government Agencies

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service will provide data for crops and regions.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture also provides data regarding crops, acreage, etc.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has abundant reports and data regarding greenhouse gas emissions, etc


Hop Growers of America reports and data. For example, take a look at their 2021 Statistical Report (PDF) which has a wide range of data within it. 

Yakima Chief Hops has some good resources on their website, such as this info on local hop varieties. 

Find Local & WSU Extension Resources

Part of your project will be understanding the historic context regarding hops. Below are some resources that will assist.

The WSU/WSC Cooperative Extension Services will provide historic and contemporary agricultural resources pertaining to Washington State. Many of these resources have been digitized but many others are only located within the Owen Science Library.

Note: You can find Extension (and other WSU) research a couple of different ways. Theoretically, there should be overlap between the following databases but in practice it is useful to search them all.

You can search the WSU Libraries' catalog and limit your results to Washington State University and/or Washington State University Cooperative Extension within the "Author" limiter. Here's a picture of how to do that.

Research Exchange is the institutional repository at WSU. It will have a lot of historic resources but also some contemporary research. Here is a 'Title' search for "hops".

The WSU Cooperative Extension Service also provides a list of contemporary publications. It may also be useful to look at the University of Idaho's Extension publications.

Finally, you may want to look at the resources within and the HathiTrust repository

Find Other States' Extension Research

Finding extension research done by other institutions can be tricky (but worthwhile). For example, here is an article from the University of Vermont Extension titled Sustainable-Hop-Production-in-the-Great-Lakes-Region (PDF).

Currently, a group of librarians are creating a centralized extension database. Until it is completed you can search the National Agriculture Library's database PubAg or use Google. You can also email me for assistance. 

Find Newspapers & Trade Publications

Newspaper and Trade Publications

  • Newspaper Source - This database provides selected full text coverage for 245 newspapers, newswires and other sources.
  • Nexis Uni - An excellent source for searching for information within state/regional/US newspapers (including the New York Times) as well as English-language foreign newspapers and foreign language newspapers. 
  • Washington State newspaper resources (NewsBank/Readex) - Includes many Washington State newspapers including the Seattle Times and the Moscow Pullman Daily News.

For more info, see the WSU Libraries News and Newspaper Research Guide

Quick Reading List

Claudia Salanță, L., Corina Fărcaş, A., Borșa, A., & Rodica Pop, C. (2023). Current strategies for the management of valuable compounds from hops waste for a circular economy. Food Chemistry, 19. See article here.

Jones, K. (2022). The hops capital of the world is in Eastern Washington. Seattle Magazine. See article here.

Kopeć, M.H., et al. (2022). Biological activity of composts obtained from hop waste generated during the brewing. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, 12(4), 1271–1279. See article here.

Pedroso-Galinato, S. (2022). 2020 estimated costs of establishing and producing conventional and organic hops in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State University Extension. See article here.

Shin, R., & Searcy, C. (2018). Evaluating the greenhouse gas emissions in the craft beer industry: An assessment of challenges and benefits of greenhouse gas accounting. Sustainability, 10(11), See article here.

Sudermann, H. (2007). Hops & beer. Washington State Magazine. Link to article. 

Yakima Chief Hops. (2024). Corporate responsibility reports. Reports from 2016 - 2021. Link to reports.

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us