The OHGA is a not-for-profit association of hop growers, families and enthusiasts who are interested in supporting the growth of the hop industry in Ontario.
Our mission is to support the development of the hop industry in this province by:
- Acting as a central voice for hop growers in Ontario;
- Be an advocacy group for commercial growers in the province to to both brewing and government interests;
- Promote hop-growing fundamentals through education, research and development;
- Support the promotion and marketing of high quality eastern hops
2018-19 Board of Directors
President: Albert Witteveen
Albert brings a lot of agricultural leadership to his new role as president of the Ontario Hop Growers' Association. Albert is the former vice president of the association and former Executive Committee Director of the West Niagara Agricultural Society (2 years) where he has also served as director.
Albert has a long history of community involvement in the agriculture sector having served as chairman of the Niagara North Fed of Agriculture for the past 20 yrs, been involved in committees such as tree bylaw, waste management, Agriculture task force, Niagara Conservation, Ag sub committee, Chairman of the citizen liason committee for the regional road 12 landfill for 25 yrs, Poultryfest committee (for 11 yrs) as director on the executive, and former chairman of the WNAS entertainment committee, and helped as a volunteer at the fair.
In additional Albert has served as a municipal councillor from 2000-2006, chaired planning committee, is a former poultry farmer (1988-2009), was employed as a purchaser for a feedmill for three years where he is present a Merchandiser for Furst McNess.
Upper Twenty Creek Farm
2853 South Grimsby Road 7
Smithville, Ontario, L0R 2A0
Vice President: Rob Rombouts
Rob Rombouts is a partner in Hopkona Farms, located outside Arkona in Lambton County.
Hopkona Farms is in its second season with plans to expand.
Rob brings experience in community organizations, and marketing.
He has an avid interest in supporting local agriculture and locally-sourced food, and was previously on the board of directors of the Mustard See Co-operative Grocery Store in Hamilton, Ontario.
Rob has nearly a decade of experience in marketing and communication, and has worked with non-profits and universities in this capacity.
8741 Townsend Line
Treasurer: Stephen Kitras
Stephen Kitras has been growing hops for 5 years with 7 acres and 20+ varieties. He started hop growing with no experience in farming. He started organic for 3 years and failed and moved to standard farming methods. He still struggles with the pest and fungal disease control and this has resulted in low yields to date.
Stephen joined the Ontario Hop Growers' Association 2 years ago and has received tremendous encouragement and knowledge of the challenges of hop growing. He is very impressed by the great success some growers have been able to achieve when knowledge and good practices are utilized in experienced farmers.
The Hoppy Farmer
6367 Weisenberg Road, RR#1
West Montrose, Ontario, N0B 2V0
Tel: (519) 843-2480
Past President: Hugh Brown
Hugh is co-owner of Heritage Hill Hop Yard and nursery, located in Central Ontario, and a founding member of the Ontario Hop Growers' Association.
He has been growing hops naturally for 13 years and commercially for nine and has a passion for the commercial revival of his crop in Ontario. Hugh has held many positions with the OHGA since its inception in 2012 including president, vice-president, director and secretary and is currently the immediate past president.
Hugh is a graduate of the broadcast journalism program at Fanshawe College, ON and has many years experience in the media industry as a broadcaster, jourrnalist, editor and digital project manager - currently with digital operations at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto.
Heritage Hill Hopyard & Nursery
1933 Line 2 N
Dean Workman is the managing partner of CanAussie Farms Inc. and Irvine River Hops. “We decided to branch out of the normal crop rotation and set aside a small plot to “experiment” with growing hops back in 2011.” Because Dean has been an avid home brewer since his mid 20’s it seemed like an obvious match. “It was more of a labour of love back then but we have expanded several times and are currently at 3.6 acres with a further expansion of 8.4 acres penciled out,” (awaiting the approval from the minister of finance, AKA the Mrs). The farm now has a Wolf 170 hop picker and a Wolf dryer as part of it’s hop specific equipment. “Growing hops has its challenges and its learning curves, I’m glad I started small so I could iron out the bugs, (literally) before going all in”. Dean, a Locksmith by trade, also has a successful small business in the Elora/Fergus area.
CanAussie Farms Inc.
6822 Beatty Line N
Fergus, Ontario, N1M 2W3
Edgar Ramirez/Catherine Crawford
Edgar Ramirez and Catherine Crawford are the owners of Pleasant Valley Hops in Prince Edward County.
Edgar has had his hands in the earth, growing wine grapes and managing vineyards, since 2001. As the area's go-to-guy for all things grape he decided in 2013 to try growing another type of vine, hops. He was immediately hooked on the challenge. His one-acre test plot has expanded to five acres and he also provides custom hop harvesting and drying services.
Catherine's fingerprints have been found all over the paperwork involved in managing their agricultural businesses. She has many interests and has worked with corporations and small businesses in various capacities such as Spanish-English bilingual executive assistant to graphic designer for a local newspaper. She trained as a midwife at Ryerson University.
Edgar and Catherine are appointed members of the Advisory Committee of the Food & Farming Program, Durham College. They spearheaded the East Central Ontario Hop Grower Study Group which Catherine affectionately dubs 'Farmers Talking Hops Getting Coffee.'
In 2016, they were recipients of the Quinte Business Achievement Award for AgriBusiness.
18683 Loyalist Parkway Hillier
Prince Edward County, Ontario,
Dean McConkey is a 6th generation farmer in the town of St. George in Brant County. He has good knowledge of how to attend to crops that require high maintenance such as hops, being born and raised on a vegetable farm. Coming into his 4th year of growing hops in a 3 acre section of the 97 acre farm. He has also contributed to the area by being a second generation volunteer fire fighter in the community for 14 years. He looks forward to helping others in the industry with good fertility knowledge creating healthy hops for generations to come.
Dean McConkey Farms
197 Howell Road
We have been growing hops on our farm since 2014, starting with 3,000 plants on 4 acres of land. As part of our 5 year business plan, we now have 9,000 plants on 12 acres of land. We grow hops alongside our partners and friends Jeremy and Donna Bartlett with help of our 5 boys that range between 4 and 12 years of age. When not growing hops, my day job is as a Production Planner/Analyst with Maple Leaf Foods. Jeremy is a Paramedic in both Waterloo and Perth Region. Donna is a Dental Assistant in nearby Baden and my wife Julie manages our egg-laying barn located at the back of our farm. While these jobs enable us to pay the bills, hops are what we (or at least me J) are passionate about. We do this because we enjoy the hard work and challenge of growing hops with the goal to one day make money at it too!
We’re thankful to have a great crew of students to help us manage the intensive workload throughout the busy growing season. Our crew is the backbone of the operation and we strive to provide a positive work experience with opportunities to gain transferable skills to help them in their eventual careers.
From a growing perspective, we take a hybrid approach, blending the best IPM and cultural practices available to us. Apart from harvesting, drying, pelleting and packaging our own hops on site, we also help other area growers process their product and get it to market.
The Tavistock Hop Company
Scott and his wife, Emma farm in Elgin county along with his parents and brother, Todd. The farm is primarily a cash crop operation, but in 2014 the brothers added hops to the rotation. Scott has enjoyed finding the balance in managing the two very different cropping methods. When not farming (or writing about himself in the third person), Scott enjoys exploring rural Ontario with his wife, and son, driving through the countryside looking at other peoples farms.
5359 Springfield Road
Aylmer, ON N5H 2R2