Onion farmers from Toombs and surrounding counties spoke with the president of the University of Georgia to tell him how important the local research center is to the region's farming and economy.
Bo Herndon and other farmers praised the Vidalia Onion & Vegetable Research Center during a meeting there Wednesday. They directed the kind words to the leaders of the University of Georgia, which funds and operates the center.
"It is absolutely crucial to have it and have it here," Herndon said after the meeting. "If I grow something and they grow it here too, we both see the same things and they can see any problems and help find the answer."
Jere Morehead, the university's president since July, visited the center and met with farmers as part of a statewide tour. Farmers talked about how the center has also tried new varieties of onions or other vegetables to broaden the region's crop base.
"What I've seen here is how much the University of Georgia means to the farmers of this region and how important they are to this region's economy," president Morehead explained. "What I take from this is that we need to build our relationship even more."
The center in Toombs County is operated by the university's Cooperative Extension Service.