By JOSH BENDER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan’s hop industry has exploded into the nation’s fourth-largest, according to a Michigan State University study. Renewed hop production in the state began in response to a crop shortage elsewhere between 2007 and 2008 and to the growing popularity of Michigan’s craft beer, said Rob Sirrine, a MSU Extension expert. Michigan is home to between 60 and 90 commercial hop farms, Sirrine said. Grand Traverse County grows close to 300 acres of hops, the most in the state, according to a June 2016 survey by MSU. Leelanau County is second, growing close to 150 acres, followed by Barry and Kent counties.