Vidalia Onion Committee Announces Grower of the Year and Hall of Fame Inductees at Awards Banquet


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Wed. March 13th, 2013

<p style="text-indent:0px; line-height:12px;"><span style="font-weight:bold;line-height:130%">Vidalia, GA</span><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">By Eric Anderson<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">3.14.13</p><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><p><img src="https://cdn.andnowuknow.com/legacyWriterImages/voc031313ban1.jpg" alt="images 031313" /><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">The Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) has honored the most recent crop of winners at the Las Vegas-themed annual awards banquet, which took place at the Hawks Point Golf Club in Vidalia, GA. Roughly 275 people attended the event at which the Grower of the Year and Hall of Fame inductees were announced.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><img src="https://cdn.andnowuknow.com/legacyWriterImages/voc031313body1.jpg" alt="images 031313" /><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">The Grower of the Year award recognizes overall achievement and success as a Vidalia&reg; onion producer with an emphasis on quality production and compliance with the Marketing Order. The Grower of the Year must meet the following requirements:<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">1. Registered Vidalia&reg; onion grower<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">2. Cannot be currently serving on the Committee<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">3. Has submitted reports and payments in a timely manner<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">4. Has had no or few complaints to the Committee Office<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">5. Conforms to the standards set forth in the Order<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">6. Enhances and supports brand recognition<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">The 2012 Grower of the Year was awarded to Ray Farms in Glennville, Georgia -a family farm that has always strived to pack a high-quality product. Avon and Annette Ray started farming in Tattnall County in the early 1950s. The Rays retired, their sons Danny and Gary took over farming operations with their wives in the late 1970s. The farm produces cotton, corn, peanuts, watermelons, peas and beans; however, its main crop is Vidalia onions. The entire family works in the packing house during the Vidalia onion harvest season. Danny also served on the VOC for several years as the committee treasurer.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">The Vidalia&reg; onion Hall of Fame award honors a person who has significantly and positively impacted the Vidalia&reg; onion industry by:<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">1. Protecting and promoting the Vidalia® onion name<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">2. Protecting and promoting the quality of the Vidalia® onion<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">3. Advertising the Vidalia&reg; onion<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">4. Using creative selling methods for Vidalia&reg; onions<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">5. Promoting research and growth development of the Vidalia&reg; onion<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">6. Demonstrating dedication to the success of the Vidalia&reg; brand and the industry as a whole </p><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><p>Buck Shuman and Gerald Dasher were inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">Shuman has devoted nearly four decades to serving the Vidalia onion industry and helping the Vidalia sweet onion maintain its superior brand image. As the owner of Shuman Fertilizer, Inc., Shuman began blending fertilizers for his customers in the 1970s. He believed a sweeter onion could be achieved by customizing what was needed in the field instead of simply applying the standard blends.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">“Blending fertilizers, I’m convinced, is the way to come up with a sweet, mild onion,” said Shuman.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">His method allowed the crop to flourish and maintain its trademark sweet, mild flavor. Working closely with former Tattnall county extension agents Max Smith and Reed Torrance, Shuman was one of the first in the industry to blend his own fertilizers to develop a sweeter onion.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"> In 1994, Shuman was in his early sixties when he decided to transition into the Vidalia onion seed business. Shuman began working for D. Palmer Seed as the company’s Vidalia onion representative – a position he still holds today. For the last 19 years, he has worked with the company and breeders from around the world to develop cultivars and varieties through trial and error that have become what are now the leading sweet onion varieties in the Vidalia onion industry. Today, his varieties represent one-third of the total Vidalia onion production, including the “Mr. Buck,” which the company named in his honor. Shuman also developed the Sapelo variety, which he named after the Sapelo River. The Sapelo is considered one of the cornerstone varieties in the Vidalia onion industry, with more acreage than any other variety in production today.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">Dasher of G&amp;R Farms in Glennville, Ga., was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dasher is remembered as one of the pioneering forces in the marketing, growing and distribution of the Vidalia&reg; onion. He was one of the first to grow this sweet onion as well as the first to sell them to major grocery chains. In the early 1970s, Dasher began traveling all over the United States and internationally to promote and market the sweet onion and was one of the first to use aggressive marketing tactics. His growing operation had humble beginnings, with just 10 acres of onions and later blossomed into a booming industry. Dasher never hesitated to reach out and help other farmers. He marketed other growers’ onions for several years.<hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">Over the years, Dasher served as Chairman of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and was a member of the Governor's International Board of Industry and Trade and the National Onion Association. </p><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><p><a class="btn btn-sm btn-primary col-lg-12" style="white-space: normal;" href=" http://www.vidaliaonion.org/" target="_new">Vidalia Onion Committee</a></p><hr class="legacyRuler"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding"><hr class="invisible minimal-padding">