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Points North, Ep. 26: Trouble brewing in hops industry

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Taylor Wizner
/
Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, hear how Michigan hops farmers are struggling to keep up with the craft beer boom. Plus, a look ahead on the future of the Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball team.

Ditching hops: 5 farms on Old Mission close in volatile market
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Credit Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio
A former hop farmer sells his picker to a nearby farm. More growers in the region are abandoning the crop because prices are so low.

Five years ago hops were in high demand in Michigan, so farmers started experimenting with the crop. However, as beer tastes changed and breweries went looking for the next new thing, many northern Michigan hop farmers have been unable to make ends meet.

This year, more than a dozen hop fields throughout the region sit idle as their owners wait for prices to rise or decide to close their farms for good.

Hear how and why hops farmers are closing up shop.

Pit Spitters say 'bigger, better' season coming in 2020
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Credit Traverse City Pit Spitters
The Traverse City Pit Spitters won the Northwoods League Championship in their first season.

The Traverse City Pit Spitters are going to have a hard time topping the 2019 season. The team broke a Northwoods League record by winning 18 games in a row.

They won the league championship with a dramatic, come-from behind 3-2 victory. Now the team is getting ready for their second season both on and off the field.

Hear more about the momentum the Pit Spitters hope to carry into 2020.

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Every week on Points North we bring you stories from across northern Michigan. Now we want to hear from you. What do you think should be featured on Points North?

What’s going on in your community that we should talk about? Call us with a tip at 231-276-4444 or email us at iprnews@interlochen.org

Your story may be featured in a future episode.

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Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.