Shields Ranch Barley Field

Our Story

Who We Are

Sinagua Malt is an Arizona benefit corporation located in Camp Verde, Arizona. Sinagua Malt was created to provide a market solution for declining flows in rivers and streams. The Directors of Sinagua Malt work pro bono to support local farmers and keep rivers and streams flowing.

Beginnings

In 2015 Chip Norton, Verde Conservation District Supervisor, and Kim Schonek, Verde River Water Transactions Manager for The Nature Conservancy, were working with local farmers to adopt irrigation practices that used less water while increasing crop productivity.  Both the yield and the barley quality were good, so Kim and the Hauser family coordinated to plant approximately 144 acres of malt barley in January 2017.  At that time, Kim suggested that a seasonal shift in crops, such as switching from alfalfa (a high water demand summer crop) to winter wheat (a lower water demand winter/spring crop) could also improve summer river flows. 

Consumptive Water Use of Agricultural Products in Arizona

Crop Connsumptive Use is the amount of water taken from the system to produce a crop. Barley and corn have similar consumptive uses but a different growing season in the arid Southwest. The mean monthly streamflow in the Verde River compared to crop consumptive use demonstrates that corn needs water most when it is least available.

After further research, Kim and Chip embarked on a malt barley pilot project with Hauser Farms in Camp Verde, Arizona.  Zach Hauser planted 15 acres of Harrington 2-row malt barley at TNC’s Shield Ranch in February 2016 and harvest occurred in late June.  Both the yield and the barley quality were good, so Kim and the Hauser family coordinated to plant approximately 125 acres of malt barley in February 2017.  Chip, working with fellow Director Steve Ayers, created a business plan and agreed to develop a malt house in Camp Verde, ready to operate in fall 2017. 

Sinagua Malt Barley harvest

How Farmers and Craft Brewers Keep Rivers Flowing

Sinagua Malt used by Arizona Craft Brewers
Sinagua Malt

Sinagua Malt

P.O. Box 1750,
Camp Verde, AZ 86323
chip.norton@sinaguamalt.com