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Hop pioneer Peter Davies passes away

Herefordshire hop grower was an inspiration to others who worked throughout his life to secure the future of British hops

Hop pioneer Peter Davies passes away

Peter Davies

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Hop grower and Herefordshire farmer Peter Davies MBE has passed away aged 93.

Davies, who won Grower of the Year Award for individual achievement in 1999, is described as a “pioneer” of British hop growing, who was still pushing the industry forward even at the age of 80, through his work at family business Philip Davies & Son.

A strong believer in the importance of healthy soils, Davies was a keen participant in the early environmental stewardship schemes. He also travelled the world throughout his farming career to find new ideas for farming and developing new varieties of hops.

Until the 1980s, the Davies’ enterprises were hops, cider fruit, cereals, beef and fat lamb production. In 1982, Davies felt that too much of the farm profitability was dependent subsidies and phased out many of the farm activities to concentrate on expanding hop production from 120 acres to the 230 acres, and cider fruit from 60 to 180 acres.

Outside farming, Davies chaired one of the key hop selling groups, Western Quality Hops, for over 30 years, and was a key chairman of the NFU hops committee between 1975 and 1982. He also received an MBE in the 2002 Queen’s jubilee birthday honours.

“Peter was a dear friend and an inspiration to many of us, and a huge supporter of innovation, science and marketing, especially in the world of hop growing. Our thoughts and prayers and with Pam and his family,” said fellow hop grower and chair of NFU hort and pots board, Ali Capper.

Capper said Davies was a man who “dedicated his life to the British hop industry and his enthusiasm continues to give inspiration to other hop growers.”

“One of the industry’s great pioneers, his belief in hedgerow hops leaves no one in any doubt of the sound future of this sector,” she added.

A private family cremation and a service of thanksgiving will take place on Tuesday 25 July at 2.30pm at St Peter’s Church, Dormington, Herefordshire, with all welcome.

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