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Vidalia Onion Crop OK Despite Weather
Thursday, 20 January 2011

January 20--  Despite the ice and freezing temperatures in South Georgia this winter, the Vidalia Onion crop is weathering well.

Mike Hively with Bland Farms in Tattnall County, the largest Vidalia Onion grower, says their tests are showing no significant damage to this year's crop so far.

"Right now I've not seen any damage to the crop.  We did a plant population study on December 17 and we did one on January 5, and we didn't see any loss that amounted to anyhing," he reports.

According to Hively, the onion needs a certain amount of cold weather.  He says the cold temperatures help control disease and weeds and are actually beneficial to the crop.

Industry officials say the Vidalia Onion contributes anywhere from $130 million to $150 million to Georgia's economy each year.  It's generally the state's leading vegetable crop, according to Wendy Brannen with the Vidalia Onion Committee.

"Typically we are the number one vegetable crop.  Not row crops, like corn, cotton and tobacco, but your vegetable crops like watermelons and such, we typically top that list every year," she says.

Brannen says a co-promotion of the Vidalia Onion in conjunction with release of a Shrek movie increased sales by about 30 percent last year.

This year the Onion Committee concludes a four-year project to unveil a Vidalia Onion Museum which is scheduled to open April 29th during the Vidalia Onion Festival.

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