Published on 03/21/00

Price of Vidalia Onions Expected to Be Higher

The price of one of Georgia's most popular crops will almost certainly be higher next year, says a University of Georgia economist. Vidalia onion farmers planted 2,000 fewer acres this year than last.

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"Vidalia farmers had 2,000 acres that weren't harvested last year because they couldn't run them through the marketing system," said Bill Thomas, an economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "They just didn't have a market for them."

This year they cut back to compensate.

"Part of it is that the Georgia Department of Agriculture limited some of the early varieties that weren't as high quality," he said. "The later varieties had higher quality."

While the price might be higher than at times last year, Thomas thinks the acreage cutback will make for a more stable market price.

"Hopefully, it will help maintain a steadier price at the grocery store," he said. "The growers also hope that by cutting out the early varieties, harvest will come off just a little bit later this year.

"Last year there was an overlap with the Texas Sweet onion harvest," he said. "This should eliminate the confusion. Shoppers will know they're getting true Vidalias, not those Texas onions."

Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.