[Back to Formatted Version]

Oregon Hop Growers Association Records, 1895-2004

By Tiah Edmunson-Morton and Jalen Todd

Collection Overview

Title: Oregon Hop Growers Association Records, 1895-2004

Predominant Dates: 1955-2004


Primary Creator: Oregon Hop Growers Association

Extent: 3.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Oregon Hop Growers Association collection is arranged into four series: Series 1: Administrative, 1915-2004; Series 2: Events, 1904-2004; Series 3: Photographs and videos, 1930-2000; Series 4: Publications, 1895-2003.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2014

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Oregon Hop Growers Association Records document the administration of the OHGA and its various activities, including outreach events and the collection of statistical information about hop production in the United States and abroad.

The general membership meeting minutes have been digitized: Oregon Hop Growers Association Meeting Minutes, 1955-1970; Oregon Hop Growers Association Meeting Minutes 1971-1983; Oregon Hop Growers Association Meeting Minutes 1984-1993.

All of the photographs and slides have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

The videos have been digitized and are available online: Oregon Hop Commission Historical Footage, John O' Connell, Hop Growers of America conference presentation, Hops farming operations.

Scope and Content Notes

The Oregon Hop Growers Association Records consist of materials generated and collected by the Oregon Hop Growers Association (OHGA) and are made up of accounting ledgers, articles of incorporation, bulletins, articles of incorporation and bylaws, correspondence, event programs, financial records, meeting minutes, membership lists, newsletters, newspaper clippings, publications, and crop production reports.

In addition to documenting the administration of OHGA, these records also reflect OHGA's participation in conferences, the organization of outreach events such as field days/tours, and the collection of statistical information about hop production in the U.S. and abroad. Other organizations represented in these records include the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Oregon State Hop Commission, and the Political Action Committee "AG-PAC."

Biographical / Historical Notes

Willamette Valley growers formed the Oregon Hop Growers Association (OHGA) in 1955. A voluntary organization, the OHGA broadly aimed to assist with marketing and grower education, but also to foster relationships in a tight knit community. This dual mission of supporting professional and community successes is reflected in their articles of incorporation: "disseminate knowledge concerning cultural practices in the growing of hops, conduct research in the growing, marketing and consumption of hops, facilitate marketing of hops by members of the corporation and in general to do all things which tend to promote a healthy hop industry within the State of Oregon."

In the early 1960s growers began investigating the potential benefits of state support in the form of a hops commodity commission; the Oregon Hop Commission was formed in 1964 with a dues structure that paid for state and grower sponsored research program. There is deep overlap between the OHGA and the Oregon Hop Commission, with the same families represented in both organizations.

The OHGA has worked with scientists and Extension agents from Oregon State College, collaborated with grower organizations in other states, hosted social events and annual field days. Many growers also joined the Hop Growers of America, a national organization with similar goals.

Dating back to the late 1800s, there were several organized growers’ associations for the hops industry in Oregon. Some groups were informal collections of growers, while others were more established and organized, but most focused on forming a "cooperative" or "union" dedicated to sharing information, pooling resources to buy supplies in bulk, state and national advocacy, setting standard wages for pickers, and stabilizing all sizes of growers in the industry. The earliest noted in newspapers are the Southern Oregon Hop Growers Association and the Willamette Hop Growers Association (WHGA); both associations are referenced in articles from 1886, and a Eugene "branch" of the WHGA was established in 1888. Growers from Polk and Yamhill officially formed the Willamette Valley Hop Growers Association in 1889 to discuss labor issues, evaluate the impact of pruning on the hop crop, investigate alternatives for processing and packaging, and whether a standard box size is needed. In 1893, the hop growers of Lane County announced they would incorporate an association, and in 1895 growers in Independence followed suit, noting that they wanted to invite professors from "the College" (Oregon Agricultural College) to attend meetings.

In 1889, Willamette Valley growers organized a different type of support organization: The Hop Growers Mutual Protective Fire Association. This groups offered insurance to growers impacted by fires; initially, the association was based in Salem, but by 1896 it had moved to Butteville. It later became the Hop Growers Fire Relief Association of Butteville, Oregon.

In October 1899, 100 growers, representing eight county-based growers' associations, met in Woodburn to organize into the first “Oregon Hop Growers Association" (OHGA), which is alternately referred to as Willamette Valley Hop Growers Association. It was referred to as a "farmers organization" for "cooperation and self-protection." They called for representatives from each county, drafted articles of incorporation, and elected officers (W.H. Egan was president, Henry Fletcher was secretary). Their focus was on securing a better market for hops; improving business methods and financial interests for members by working with banks and purchasing property; investigating the most economical method of pruning, "polling," or wiring; and improving methods of cultivation and selection of soils. The OHGA also sought to steady the market and maintain prices by regulating sales through the creation of combined "pools" of hops under the control of the organization; these were then sold to a sales commission. With a suite of offices in Salem, the group was active over the next few years, focusing on pooling hops, combatting "short-sellers" who offer unfair prices in the market, and successfully brokering deals with international buyers. By the end of 1900, there were 250 members and more counties included; growers in Lane County, a major growing region at that time, did not join but still called for greater local collaboration. This association was notable for its statewide reach and exclusion of buyers in favor of a grower-based group.

By August 1905, OHGA has disbanded and was reborn as the as the "Willamette Valley Hop-Growers Association" (WVHGA) Their work, similar to the former OHGA, focused on the collection and dissemination of accurate information regarding supply, demand, and the state of the market. However, they wanted to actively protect growers from dealers or buyers manipulating the market; as such, they had the corporate power to directly buy and sell hops for members rather than through a third-party sales commission. They created a members-only information bureau that was funded by members' fees.

Many early local associations informally gathered with other West Coast groups to attend meetings of the Hop Growers Association of Northwest, but in December 1907, driven by the continued challenges of working with brokers and the uncertainty of the market, West Coast growers met to discuss a formal multi-state association that they called the "Pacific Coast Hop Growers Union." At this point, there were over 1,400 growers in Oregon, which guaranteed they would likely control the association. While interest in Oregon was high for forming an association to support a healthy industry, there was growing concern in 1908 about a nationwide alcohol prohibition and its potential impact on the hops and barley industries. Over the next several years regional or local associations focused on stabilizing the market, as well as communicating the positive economic impact of the industries at state and national levels.

In summer 1914, a formal "State Board of the Hop Growers and Dealers Association of Oregon" was formed and growers started a fund to support a campaign to oppose Prohibition. At this time, it was estimated that there were 2,000 growers in Oregon, 250 in California, and several hundred in Washington. In fall 1914, the coastal hop growers organized again, this time advocating to merge into a formal Pacific Hop Growers Association (PHGA), with incorporated state associations. However, despite the increasing of local options to prohibit alcohol, the PHGA was not formed to combat Prohibition, rather to focus again on stabilizing the market and the impact of "short-sellers" on prices. As such, they wanted to control the entire output of the three coastal states and support growers of all sizes in financing and marketing their crops; the growers’ organization would have the ability to borrow money from banks and loan it to individual farmers. Those already involved in the talks set upon a major promotional campaign to sign up growers in Oregon; in most cases they were met with great enthusiasm because most felt their needs were not being met by dealers; they also blamed dealers for failures of past organizations or efforts to organize. In addition to creating an international information network, the PHGA wanted to establish scientific standards for grading, as well as a department to evaluate and rate hops for growers. During the fall of 1914, to avoid violating anti-trust laws, three separate state organizations formed.

In February 1915, incorporation papers were filed with the Secretary of State to (again) form an Oregon Hop Growers Association. Officers of record included Phil Metchan Sr. (Portland), William Bagley Jr., JR Cartwright (Harrisburg), MA March (Halsey), and JL Clark (Springfield). They raised $150,000 divided into 15,000 shares sold at $10 each. Amidst reports that the organization hadn't enrolled enough growers to meet their obligation to the PHGA and was in danger of failing, Portland-based grower Sied Back, who owned or controlled several hundred acres in Oregon, joined. This essentially guaranteed all other Chinese growers would join and there will be enough growers to form the state organization.

For the first year the organization appeared to be thriving, with great success in international crop sales for 1915. Unfortunately, by 1916 there were reports of a railroad car shortage, bad crop yield, fewer new plants in the ground, an increasing number of growers leaving the industry, a British embargo on hops, accusations of mismanagement, and a near guarantee of a nationwide Prohibition. In 1918, the OHGA was disbanded; it was seen as a useless organization that no longer supported grower needs.

Hops continued to sell through the years of Prohibition, and in 1933 there was demand for a new statewide growers’ association to tackle what growers called “discriminatory legislation” related to alcohol legalization, as well as combat serious issues with disease and pests. In January 1933, Dean Walker was elected president of the new Oregon Hop Growers Association, which was based in Silverton; this organization began publishing the Oregon Hop Grower that same year. This publication was dedicated to the interests of west coast growers and carried the official news of the organization, including meeting minutes and names of officers, and was also a place for Oregon Agricultural College researchers to share their findings.

In November 1933, the Oregon Hop Grower also became the official publication for the Yakima Valley Hop Growers Association and United Hop Growers of California; a name change in January 1934 to the Pacific Hop Grower reflects this broader audience. The publication editor announced that a Pacific Coast organization was imminent, driven by a need to cooperate to address mutual problems like market regulation and continued threats of Prohibition. Unfortunately, by 1935 only one-quarter of members paid their dues and few attended district meetings. In Oregon, participation was lower, though the total number of growers was listed at 630 with average 30 acres/grower. The Pacific Hop Grower ceased publication in 1940, and a multi-state organization was not formed.

In 1943, the United States Hop Growers' Association formed, and from 1944 to 1954 they published The Hopper, another publication focused on supporting growers, brewers, and those in related industries with articles on crop forecasts and yields, mechanization and technological advances, pests and diseases, social issues, and scientific research.

In Oregon, many of the same families organized again in 1955 to form the next iteration of the Oregon Hop Growers Association.

Author: Tiah Edmunson-Morton

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 4 boxes, including approximately 450 photographs and slides, and 3 videos

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The collection was donated by Nancy Sites of the Oregon Hop Commission in 2014.

Related Materials:

The Oregon Hop Growers Association Records are also complemented by the interviews included in the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection (OH 35), which includes interviews from industry professionals, journalists and community members.

The Brewing and Fermentation Collection (MSS BFRC) consists of materials collected by the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center pertaining to the history, growth, and culture of the Pacific Northwest brewing industry, including regional hops and barley farming, commercial craft and home brewing, and craft cider and mead.

Other related materials can be found in the Hop Research Council Records and Hop Growers of America Records. Also of note are the research reports in the Crop Science Department Records (RG 095) and the College of Agricultural Sciences Records (RG 158).

Collections linked to Oregon State University research, as well as other manuscript collections are described on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives library research guide. More information pertaining to the history of hop growing and brewing in Oregon can be found on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives website.

Preferred Citation: Oregon Hop Growers Association Records (MSS OHGA), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Finding Aid Revision History: The finding aid that was prepared in 2017 at the time of full processing of the collection has been updated to incorporate additional materials.


Oregon Hop Growers Association

People, Places, and Topics

Hops--Diseases and pests--Oregon.
Hops and Brewing
Natural Resources
Oregon Hop Growers Association

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.
Slides (photographs).
Video recordings (physical artifacts)

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Administrative, 1915-2004

Series 1 contains financial records (e.g. meal and event receipts, accounting ledgers, long distance phone records, dues notices, operational expenses), information on marketing orders, the crop production registrar from the pacific northwest states, articles of incorporation, correspondence, and general membership and board meeting minutes. Also included are the articles of incorporation and by-laws from 1955 to 1984.

The general membership meeting minutes have been digitized: Oregon Hop Growers Association Meeting Minutes, 1955-1970 Oregon Hop Growers Association Meeting Minutes 1971-1983 Oregon Hop Growers Association Meeting Minutes 1984-1993.

Sub-Series 1: Office files, 1915-2003
Box-Folder 1.01: Oregon Hop Commission promotional materials, 1977-1982
Research materials, correspondence, articles, meeting minutes, reports, hops history, cartoons.
Box-Folder 1.02: Membership and crop information, 1915-1966
Copy of 1915 sharebonds, dues information, membership lists, correspondence, meeting announcements, information about hops commodity commissions.
Box-Folder 1.03: Office files, 1994-1995
Correspondence, dues, voting, program information, promotional materials.
Box-Folder 1.04: American Hop Museum Toppenish, WA, 1993-2000
Informational and fundraiser materials.
Box-Folder 1.05: Office files, 1996-1997
Correspondence, meeting announcements, articles, fact sheets on labor disputes.
Box-Folder 1.06: Office files, 1998
Meeting agendas, memos, event planning, fact sheets regarding powdery mildew, correspondence.
Box-Folder 1.07: Office files, 1999-2000
Correspondence, meeting announcements, recruitment for Hop Growers of America director, advertising and event sponsorship.
Box-Folder 1.08: Office files, 2001-2003
Correspondence, meeting announcements, advertising, event sponsorship.
Box-Folder 1.09: AG-PAC, 1987-2000
Meeting agendas, fact sheets, correspondence, fundraising, governance documents, event sponsorship.
Box-Folder 1.10: Agriculture legislative agenda conference, 1988
Conference packet.
Box-Folder 1.11: Crosby farm soil analysis, 1958-1959
Soil testing, fertilizer recommendations.
Box-Folder 1.12: United States Hops administrative committee, 1969-1986
Market surveys, domestic and international market analysis, conference reports, statistics.
Box-Folder 1.13: Oregon hops, 1975-1994
Pamphlets, articles, hop research, history of industry, fact sheets on production and analysis, statistics.
Box-Folder 1.14: United States hops statistics, 1969-2001
Production and export information.
Box-Folder 4.01: Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, 1955-1984
Original documents and revisions.
Box-Folder 4.02: Crop Production Register, 1949
Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California.
Sub-Series 2: Marketing order, 1961-2002
Box-Folder 1.15: Marketing order, 1961
Drafts, proposal.
Box-Folder 1.16: Marketing order: USDA proposed amendment, 1984
Box-Folder 1.17: Marketing Order, 1985-1994
Research materials for 1994 marketing order, correspondence, notes, meeting agendas.
Box-Folder 1.18: Marketing order, 2002
Research and advocacy materials.
Sub-Series 3: Member meetings, 1959-1997
Box-Folder 1.19: Minutes: board and general meetings, 1955-1962
Box-Folder 1.20: Minutes: general meeting, 1962-1970
Box-Folder 1.21: Minutes: board meeting, 1962-1969
Box-Folder 1.22: Minutes: general meeting, 1971-1983
Hand & typewritten notes, meeting handouts.
Box-Folder 1.23: Minutes: general meeting, 1984-1993
OHGA & OHC meeting minutes, hand written notes, presentation material.
Box-Folder 1.24: Meeting notices and information, 1981-1987
Meeting announcements, news clippings; correspondence regarding events, prospects and funding requests.
Box-Folder 1.25: Minutes: general meeting, 1991-1997
Not complete.
Sub-Series 4: Financial, 1954-1997
Box-Folder 1.26: Report of examination, 1956-1966
Annual accounts review and financial reconciliation from accountants.
Box-Folder 1.27: Receipt and record books, 1954-1961
Check book, pay books, ledger.
Box-Folder 1.28: Receipt books, 1958-1965
Box-Folder 2.01: Annual financial records, 1954-1959
Box-Folder 2.02: Annual financial records, 1960-1961
Box-Folder 2.03: Annual financial records, 1962-1963
Box-Folder 2.04: Annual financial records, 1964-1967
Box-Folder 2.05: Annual financial records, 1968-1980
Box-Folder 2.06: Annual financial records, 1991-1997
Sub-Series 5: Member dues, 1957-2004
Box-Folder 2.07: Dues reports and reminders, 1957-1963
Box-Folder 2.08: Dues reports and reminders, 1965-1985
Box-Folder 2.09: Dues forms, 1994
Box-Folder 2.10: Dues forms, 1995
Box-Folder 2.11: Dues forms, 1996
Box-Folder 2.12: Dues forms, 1997
Box-Folder 2.13: Dues forms, 1998
Box-Folder 2.14: Dues forms, 1999
Box-Folder 2.15: Dues forms, 2000
Box-Folder 2.16: Dues forms, 2001-2002
Box-Folder 2.17: Dues forms, 2003-2004
Series 2: Events, 1904-2004
Series 2 contains materials related to events such as the annual Christmas Breakfast, Hop Field Day, and other group tours of farms. Specifically, this includes planning documents, receipts, tour itineraries, and correspondence.
Box-Folder 2.18: International hop growers conference, 1998
Correspondence, receipts, planning documents, tour information.
Box-Folder 2.19: German hop growers tour, 1984
Box-Folder 2.20: Bridgeport Brewing Company hop bike tour, 1994
Box-Folder 2.21: Legislative tour, 2003
Box-Folder 2.22: Christmas breakfast, 1984-2004
Correspondence, program fliers, receipts.
Box-Folder 3.01: Hop field day, 1958-1983
Correspondence, planning notes, announcements, event itineraries.
Box-Folder 3.02: Hop field day, 1979
Planning documents.
Box-Folder 3.03: Hop field day, 1983
Planning documents, correspondence.
Box-Folder 3.04: Hop field day, 1904-1985
Correspondence, event itinerary, receipts.
Box-Folder 3.05: Hop field day, 1986-1987
Announcements, receipts.
Box-Folder 3.06: Hop field day, 1988-1989
Planning documents.
Box-Folder 3.07: Hop field day, 1993-1997
Planning notes & documents, correspondence, event itineraries, receipts, news clippings.
Box-Folder 3.08: Hop field day, 1998-2000
Mailing lists, correspondence, event announcements, budget information, copies of thank you notes for participants.
Box-Folder 3.09: Hop field day, 2001-2004
Event planning documents, receipts, correspondence, thank you notes to participants, mailing lists, golf tournament.
Series 3: Photographs and videos, 1930-2000

Series 3 contains photographs and videos of fields and farming operations; specifically stringing, irrigation, dusting or spraying, harvest, processing and baling, and visitors for Hop Field Day. Included are pictures from the 1930s of Seavey, Horst, and Wigrich Ranches and growers, equipment, fields from the 1970s (identified locations), as well as more contemporary pictures from the late 1990s and early 2000s showing OSU scientists conducting research in fields and Anheuser-Busch hop test plots. The videos include a group interview with growers, footage of fields, and industry presentations.

All of the photographs and slides included in in this series have been digitized and are available online.

Box-Folder 3.10: Photographic prints: #001-100, 1996-2000
Pictures of field irrigation, processing facilities, United States Department of Agriculture research work (pollination, stringing, dusting), Hop Field Day event.
Box-Folder 3.11: Photographic prints: #101-179, 1930-2000
Pictures of fields, spring training of plants, harvest, hop pellets and extract.
Box-Folder 3.12: Photographic prints: #180-191, 1938 - circa 1990
Pictures of harvest and plants.
Box-Folder 3.13: Color slides: #191-309, 1975-1994
Slides showing growers, fields, and equipment.
Box-Folder 3.14: Negatives: # 310-420, 1996
Negatives of harvest, processing facilities, fields, hop extract, and family gatherings.
Box-Folder 3.15: VHS video tapes, 1945-1995

The Oregon Hop Commission Historical Footage (circa 1995) video contains footage for a documentary film; the interviewer, date, locations, and many of the interviewees are not identified. Footage of hop yards, properties, barns, driers, laborers training bines, and buildings in Salem is included at the beginning and end of the video. Also included are two interviews with Adele Egan, who talks about pay day at the hop fields in the 1930s, and a group interview with five hop farmers (including Ray Kerr, Cap Becker, Andy Kerr, and Mr. Smith). They talk for nearly 45 minutes about a variety of topics, including picking technologies; family stories; the quality of hand picked hops; socio-economic, ethnic, and racial demographics of the picker population in the 1920s through the 1940s, impact of newer hop varieties like the Cascade, and the impact of micro and macro brewers on production.

The John O' Connell, Hop Growers of America conference presentation (circa 1995) focuses on the topic of the Chinese hops and beer making. O'Connell talks about the flow of information, increased interest in beer in China, the places where larger American macro breweries are involved with both agriculture and brewing, and labor practices.

The Hops farming operations (circa 1945) video shows laborers in fields, a tractor tilling alleys in fields, watering and irrigation, fields before harvest, harvest, picking machines, baling, and a public event. Adela Serris' name is on the cassette.

Series 4: Publications, 1895-2003
Series 4 includes a variety of news clippings, which are organized topically, and the Hop Market News.
Box-Folder 3.16: Oregon Oktoberfest, 1984
News clippings
Box-Folder 3.17: Brewing articles, 1983-1997
Box-Folder 3.18: Oregon agriculture, 1964-1999
Economic and industry reports, periodicals.
Box-Folder 3.19: Oregon Farm Bureau, 1971-1972
Clippings and publications
Box-Folder 3.20: Oregon farm labor, 1971-1998
News clippings regarding farm labor laws and migrant farm workers.
Box-Folder 3.21: Oregon hops, 1895-2002
News clippings and articles
Box-Folder 3.22: Oregon hops, 1912-1999
Hops history, manuscript, articles, OSU Extension bulletin.
Box-Folder 3.23: United States hops, 1961-circa 1997
Extension and United States Department of Agriculture bulletins, articles, industry reports.
Box-Folder 3.24: International hops, 1972-2003
Pamphlets, industry and symposium reports, seasonal reports.
Box-Folder 3.25: Hops Market News, 1982-1993
Monthly publications from USDA
Box-Folder 3.26: Hops Market News, 1994-2001
Monthly publication from USDA
Box-Folder 3.27: Oregon Farm Bureau bulletins & correspondence, 1962-1963
Box-Folder 3.28: Agri-Business Council of Oregon, 1969-1983
Various publications
Box-Folder 3.29: Washington Hop Commission publications, 1965-1983
Box-Folder 3.30: Willamette Valley Hop Houses, by Lynda Sekora, 1985
Research paper for University of Oregon Archaeology course.
Box-Folder 3.31: The United States Hop Industry: Structural Analysis and Forecasts, by Yoshinobou Habuki, 1984
Dissertation for Washington State University Department of Agricultural Economics.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.