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Toombs Farmer Named Onion Grower of Year
Sunday, 08 February 2009

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Bo Herndon (L) accepts Grower of the Year honors at Saturday night's annual banquet for onion growers in Vidalia. His nephew, Jason, looks on after recounting his uncle's accomplishments growing Vidalia onions for over 30 years.
 

February 8--  The outgoing chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee has been named by his peers as the Vidalia Onion Grower of the Year.  Bo Herndon of Toombs County was presented the award over the weekend at the Onion Growers Annual Banquet in Vidalia.

"I was glad to get it.  It's been a long wait and I've always wanted to get it, and I was just really glad to get it," he said.  Herndon has been board chairman for a total of four years and believes the Vidalia onion industry is in the best shape it's ever been.  "The onion industry has got the biggest potential its ever had.  We were worried years ago about everybody marketing sweet onions all over the country, but Vidalia is still at the top and our growers really strive to grow a good onion and do a good job putting out a good onion, and that's what it takes to stay at the top," he said.

Herndon's successor as board chairman is Michael Hively of Bland Farms in Tattnall County.  "My goals are to bring growers back to committee meetings and to have more participation and more growth in the committee itself," he said.

Hively says it's too early to tell what kind of impact recent sub-freezing temperatures will have on this year's crop.  "I think the crop is going to be a little later than it was last year.  The plants are young and we really hope they'll grow out of it and that we'll have a fine crop," he noted.

The Vidalia Onion Committee also inducted three new members into its Hall of Fame.  They include Doyle Smittle, a University of Georgia hortoculturist who first discovered how to extend the life of the Sweet Vidalia Onion; Mose Coleman of Vidalia, one of the first growers; and Early Jordan who founded Toombs County Plant Corporation in 1949 to grow and market onion plants.

 
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