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    Keith Millen
    Wagstaff Farm

    Biddenden, Ashford

    Admiral, Goldings, Target, UK Chinook

    Growers Profile

    My grandfather bought this farm in 1918, and for a while grew a small acreage of hops. 

    In the depression years of the 1930’s, he did not have any and during the second world war, a large section of the farm was requisitioned by the government to build an air field which was occupied by the American air force.

    There was a considerable amount of damage done to the land and property. By the end of the war the land was given back and by this time my father started to take over and wanted to grow hops again in the very late 1940’s early 1950’s. The main variety he grew was Fuggles, growing them successfully for a number of years, until the late 1970’s when they were struck down with verticillium wilt.

    For the next 10 years or so, different varieties were grown with varying degrees of success, until the late 1980’s when everything was grubbed.  At this time, I started to take an interest and planted the existing acreage with Target, which I still have today. Since then I have doubled the acreage which includes Admiral, Goldings and UK Chinnock and built a new drying system and with the vibrant interest in UK varieties, I intend to increase plantings further. 

    I am the seventh generation in my family to have grown hops, although not continuously or on the same farm.  It may appear to some people that I grow hops for historical family connections but this is not the case.  My grandfather said to my father when he started growing hops, “you are in for a lot of work and aggravation” and he certainly was not wrong.  I enjoy making improvements where ever I can to make things more efficient and easier and I hope within the next ten years to hand it over to somebody else.

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    Keith Millen - Wagstaff Farm - 1