Feb 11, 2016Vidalia Onion Committee celebrates honorees at annual banquet
The Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) hosted its annual awards banquet on Feb. 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.
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.
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.
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.