2020 Board Of Directors
The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers is governed by an 8 member elected Board of Directors consisting of Ontario processing vegetable farmers from across 3 Districts in Southwestern Ontario. Directors are elected for a two-year term.
By regulation, the Chair is appointed by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.
The OPVG has two Vice Chair positions which are elected by the directors for one-year terms each year at the first meeting of the Board of Director’s after the District Annual Meetings have taken place in the Fall.
Dave Hope was appointed Chair of the board in January of 2019. Dave is retired from OMAFRA after working as Assistant Deputy Minister in several portfolios including Food Safety & Environment, Economic Development, and Regulated Marketing. Dave also served as Chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission and as a board member of Agricorp. Upon receiving a BSc(agr) in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph, Dave was a partner in a livestock farming operation. He spent time at the University of Guelph as a research fellow near the end of his career with OMAFRA.
Michael Denys1st VICE CHAIR, District 1
Michael Denys of Wallaceburg was elected in November of 2018 for a second term to serve as Director of OPVG. Michael is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science and operates a 300-acre farm in Kent County with his son. Together they grow sweet corn, seed corn, green beans, peas, soybeans and wheat. Michael has also previously served as Chair and director of the Ontario Seed Corn Growers Marketing Board.
Ken Hamm2nd Vice Chair, District 1
Ken Hamm was re-elected to the OPVG Board in November 2018 after serving on the board previously from 2011 to 2014. Ken is a graduate of Ridgetown College, 1982 and returned to his home in Leamington to farm with his father Jake. J & K Hamm Farms Ltd. grew tomatoes for H. J. Heinz Co. for over 40 years until the plant closed in 2013 and for Jema Foods until its closure. Ken presently grows tomatoes for Countryside Canners, as well as growing corn, soybeans and wheat. Ken also services as Chairman of Leamington Area Drip Irrigation Inc.
Dan FroeseDIRECTOR, District 3
Dan Froese has served on the local District 3 Committee for 10 years and was elected to the Board as a Provincial Director in October 2017. Dan grew up on a farm and has lived in Southwestern Ontario for most of his life, currently residing in Straffordville. Dan and his family have been farming for 20 years both fresh and processing vegetable crops including cucumbers, peppers corn and beans. Dan also serves as a Councillor in Ward 2 for the Municipality of Bayham.
Ryan LeclairDIRECTOR, District 1
Ryan Leclair is a 3rd generation tomato farmer who lives in Dresden. Ryan grew up on a farm and has been involved with many different crops and processes along the way. Furthering his education, in 2006 he graduated from the Mechatronics Program at St.Clair College, where he continues to work during the winter months. Growing up on his family farm, it had always been a dream of his to take on a full time farming position. Ryan grows tomatoes with his family for Con-Agra Brands in Dresden, and took on this full time role in 2013. Corn, soybeans and wheat are also a few of the crops in their rotation. In 2019 Ryan served as Vice President on the district committee for the OPVG board and was elected to be one of the board of directors in 2020.
Mike LendersDirector, District 2
Mike Lenders has served as a Director of OPVG since first elected in October 2017. Mike was elected as 2nd Vice Chair by his peers on the Board in November of 2018. Mike comes from a family of growers who have farmed in the Ilderton area for many years. He grows processing lima beans and green peas, as well as celery, corn, wheat, beans and hay. Mike previously worked for Bonduelle Ontario Inc. as an Agriculture Manager at the Strathroy plant.
Carl MerrickDIRECTOR, District 2
Carl Merrick was elected to the Board in November 2018 after holding the position of Chair at the local District Committee level for one year. Carl has grown up with farming all his life. His father worked as a field manager for Green Giant and Carl, as a teenager, ran harvester for GlanRvest. He is actively involved with the family farm near Strathroy and grows green peas, snap beans and sweet corn.
Ron Van DammeDIRECTOR, District 1
Ron Van Damme’s main operation is located in Wallaceburg. Ron grows tomatoes for Con Agra foods in Dresden as well as machine harvest cucumbers, green peas. sweet corn. Ron also grows sugar beets, corn, soybeans and wheat. Ron has been involved with the OPVG for many years, serving on the District Committee and has experience serving on other boards including the Ontario Sugar Beet Growers Association where he was the research chair for several years. Ron was elected to the Board for 2020 and wants to work to represent all growers moving forward. Ron believes in the importance of fair and reasonable contracts and will work to negotiate in the best long-term interest of growers.
Henry VothDIRECTOR, District 3
Henry Voth was acclaimed to the OPVG Board in November 2018. He comes from a farming family and has grown cucumbers all his life. The Voth family were also growers of tobacco and Roma tomatoes in years past. Henry himself has grown cucumbers for Hartung for 10 years and peppers for Can-Am for 3 years. In addition to farming, Henry is a licensed truck and coach technician and has many years experience owning and operating a small business.