Almost 250 people packed the Vidalia Community Center recently to kick up their heels in celebration of the pioneer of sweet onions at the country western-themed industry banquet. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the 2011 award recipient for Grower of the Year: Alan Sikes of Sikes Farms in Collins, Ga.; and its latest Hall of Fame inductee: L.G. “Bo” Herndon, Jr., of Herndon Farms, Lyons, Ga.
John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce, Reidsville, Ga., says he believes that Sikes is among the best in quality and reputation in the Vidalia industry and has earned this distinction through his continued dedication to growing the highest quality and sweetest onions available in the Vidalia industry.
“We are so proud to partner with Alan Sikes and his family,” says Shuman. “We have been committed to each other’s businesses for more than 17 years, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to work together.”
The Grower of the Year award recognizes overall achievement and success as a Vidalia Onion producer with an emphasis on quality production and compliance with the Marketing Order. They must meet the following requirements:
- be a registered Vidalia Onion grower;
- is not a current member of the Committee;
- 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; and
- enhances and supports brand recognition.
Hall of Fame inductee, L.G. “Bo” Herndon, Jr., was recognized for his commitment to and success with growing and packing Vidalia onion, as well as being long devoted to the VOC. He has served the committee for most of the past 25 years and has been at the forefront of tackling industry obstacles.
Jason Herndon, who works with his uncle, said becoming a “Hall of Famer” is a long process completed by building a reputation through honor, respect and integrity. The Hall of Fame award is special, he says, “it is not about what you have done for yourself, but instead, what you have done for the industry.”
The Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame award honors a person who has significantly and positively impacted the Vidalia Onion industry by:
- protecting and promoting the Vidalia Onion name;
- protecting and promoting the quality of the Vidalia Onion;
- advertising the Vidalia Onion;
- using creative selling methods for Vidalia Onions;
- promoting research and growth development of the Vidalia Onion; and
- demonstrating dedication to the success of the Vidalia brand and the industry as a whole.