FOLEY -- The co-founders of a large hop farm near Foley are looking for a new investor after a late season storm wiped out a large part of their crop last year.

Eric Sannerud and his business partner Ben Boo founded Mighty Axe Hops in 2014. They began operating an 80 acre farm with an on-site production facility in 2016.

Sannerud says things were going well until Labor Day weekend.

This is all due to a disastrous storm that we experienced on Labor Day 2019 which destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in crops, and unfortunately for hops in Minnesota, there are no crop insurance options.

Sannerud says trying to find an affordable insurance option has been a high priority for him for the past five years and he has been in talks with a private provider to bring crop insurance to the hops industry in the Midwest. He says he's also been in contact with Congressman Tom Emmer and U.S. Senator Tina Smith about the issue.

Meanwhile, for this season, Mighty Axe Hops needs to find a new majority investor to buy out the current majority owner as well as get some short term operating support for the planting season.

We need the smaller amount of money for operating this spring, the money that fills in the hole that the storm left, in the next handful of weeks before spring rolls around so we can get the crops in the ground and growing.

Sannerud says, if they can find a new majority investor, he'd like to stay on as the company's CEO, calling the farm his dream.

This is less of a referendum on the viability of Minnesota hops and it's more of a story of 'we had a bad year with a bad storm and our partners are ready to move on'.  Minnesota hops, I believe, still have a bright future in tandem with Minnesota beer.

Mighty Axe Hops is still the largest hops farm in the Midwest between Michigan and Idaho.

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