Vidalia Onion Committee Announces the 2020 Grower of the Year
VIDALIA, GA - It takes a special kind of soul to bring a category as unique as Vidalia® onions to market. John Shuman, President and CEO of Shuman Farms, is one such soul, and was recently honored by an esteemed industry association. The Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) has named Shuman as the 2020 Grower of the Year for his contributions to the sector over the last 25-plus years.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the Vidalia onion industry to receive one of our highest awards,” said Shuman. “I have been fortunate to have had the support of my wife, Lana, as well as the advice and counsel from some of the most respected Vidalia onion growers in the state. As you know, it takes a village to do what we do, so this award goes to everyone at Shuman Farms. I want to especially thank my brother Mark for his dedication and leadership.”
Following in the footsteps of his father, Buck Shuman, who began growing Vidalia onions in the 1980s, John Shuman took over his family’s farm in the early 1990s, rebuilding it from the ground up following the national farm crisis of the previous decade. As stated in a press release, Shuman Farms is now one of the largest growers of Vidalia onions in North America.
A graduate of Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Shuman has served as VOC Chairman, Chairman of the Board of the Southeast Produce Council, and a member of the Georgia Ports Authority Board of Directors. Shuman also founded Produce for Kids®, now Healthy Family Project, in 2002, which has raised more than $7 million. Shuman Farms provides annual donations to Feeding America and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in addition.
“In the last quarter century, John has played a leading role in building the Vidalia onion brand to become the country’s most iconic vegetable,” said Aries Haygood, VOC Chairman. “But even more importantly, John and his family have devoted considerable time and energy giving back to the community.”
Known for its sweet, mild flavor and treasured by cooks nationwide, Vidalia onions are hand-cultivated by 60 registered growers. This highly coveted variety represents about 40 percent of the sweet onion market and is sold in every state.
Congratulations to John Shuman on this well-deserved honor!