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February 11--  Following in his father's footsteps, R.T. Stanley, Jr. was inducted into the Vidalia Onion Growers Hall of Fame Saturday night during the grower's annual banquet and awards ceremony in Vidalia.  His father was inducted ten years ago.

onionstanley(L-R) Onion Committee Chairman Troy Bland, Committe Executive Director Bob Stafford and R.T Stanley, Jr.

"I really want to thank the good Lord for the blessings he's bestowed upon me and my family over the years.  Without those blessings, we'd never be where are today.  All of you know how farming is.  It's so unpredictable.  We're competing with Mother Nature every day and all these low prices we have to take for our products and things we can't control.  If we didn't have these blessings from up above, I don't think any of us can survive.  I know the Stanley family wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for the blessings bestowed upon us.  I thank the Lord every day for my blessings," Stanley told the growers.

He also challenged them to work together to get better prices for Vidalia Onions, "Let's consider forming a co-op or a Vidalia Onion Exchange to get together and we can do it legally.  We need to get together as an industry and make up our mind we aren't going to give our crops away and we're going to get a fair price for them, and if you don't give us a decent price for them, we're not going to sell them to you."

The growers named Omar Cruz  as their "Grower of the Year."  Cruz is the agronomist for Bland Farms in Tattnall County.

onioncruz(L-R) Onion Farmer Delbert Bland, Grower of the Year Omar Cruz, Onion Exec Bob Stafford and Vidalia Onion Committee Chairman Troy Bland.

"It's been a challenge every year growing the crop.  I want to thank Delbert Bland because you believed in me and gave me the opportunity.  I feel humble about being here because each one of you has brought a piece of knowledge to what I try to do everyday in my life.  Thank you to my agronomy team, to all the growers, to this committee for recognizing me with this, and thank you to God for without him nothing would be possible," Cruz said.