Vidalia Onion Committee Names Grower of the Year and Hall of Fame Recipient at Annual Banquet
March 15, 2016
Vidalia, GA (February 10, 2016) — The Vidalia® Onion Committee (VOC) hosted its annual awards banquet on February 6 at the Hawks Point Golf Club in Vidalia, Georgia. Jason Herndon from L.G. Herndon Jr Farms Inc. was named grower of the year and J. Scott Angle, former Dean of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Commissioner Gary Black also spoke at the event.
Each year, the Vidalia Onion Committee selects a grower or overall farm of the year to recognize overall achievement and success as a producer of Vidalia Onions with an emphasis on quality production and compliance with the Marketing Order. The farm must meet the following requirements:
- Registered Vidalia® onion grower
- Has submitted reports and payments in a timely manner
- Has had no or few complaints to the Committee Office
- Conforms to the standards set forth in the Order
- Enhances and supports brand recognition
The 2015 Grower of the Year was awarded to Jason Herndon from L.G. Herndon Jr Farms Inc. A family owned and operated business, L.G. Herndon Jr Farms Inc. has been in business for over 30 years and now averages 500 acres of Vidalia Onions each year. Jason manages the farm for his uncle, “Bo” Herndon Jr. who was named grower of the year in 2008. J. Scott Angle was Dean and Director of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for the past decade. Angle oversaw a period of significant growth in the college’s instruction, research and outreach. He recruited several nationally and internationally recognized researchers to help broaden the scope and impact of the college’s research. He also strengthened the links between the college’s research and extension units to ensure that farmers and other stakeholders in each of Georgia’s 159 counties have access to the latest, evidence-based information. In 2015, he became president and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center.
The awards were presented by Vidalia Onion Committee Director Susan A. Waters and Vidalia Onion Business Council Director Bob Stafford. Waters stated, “It was a great honor to present the Grower of the Year Award to Jason Herndon who has served as Vice Chair and Chairman of the Committee. We also wanted to recognize Scott Angles’ contribution to the Vidalia industry especially since the University of Georgia has played a key role in providing critical crop research and helping the industry to improve the flavor of our premium sweet onions.”
In keeping with Super Bowl weekend, “Team Vidalia” was the theme of the banquet this year and for the first time, the VOC hosted an inspirational speaker. Raised in Vidalia, Fred Stokes is a former American football defensive end who played ten seasons in the National Football League. He played professionally for the Los Angeles Rams, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. Stokes played in Super Bowl XXVI with the 1991 Washington Redskins against the Buffalo Bills. After his retirement from football, Stokes wrote an autobiography, “The Bridge That Brought Me Over.” In 2007, he established Fred Stokes Foods and has been working with the VOC to implement a new Vidalia sausage product at retail.
About the Vidalia® Onion Committee Because Vidalia® onions are sweetly unique, farmers united to seek legal protection for their crop and its name. Federal Marketing Order No. 955 was established in 1989, to stipulate where the crop can be grown and help with research and promotion of Vidalia® onions. The Vidalia® Onion Committee administers FMO No. 955 and authorizes production research, marketing research and development and marketing promotion programs. This federal program along with Georgia state laws that protect the Vidalia® trademark have provided a legal framework for
the industry. So, you can try to grow a sweet onion elsewhere, but you cannot call it a “Vidalia®,” unless it is from Georgia! For more information, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
"The only thing better than the onions in Vidalia is the people. They’re great cooks, and friendly."- Chef Bobby Flay, "Postcard from Vidalia, Georgia" Bobby Flay Cooks American