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Two inducted into Idaho-Oregon onion hall of fame

By Sean Ellis

Idaho Farm Bureau Federation

ONTARIO, Ore. – Two onion farmers were inducted into the Idaho-Oregon onion industry’s hall of fame Feb. 5. 

Ken Teramura and Ray Winegar, who are both retired onion farmers from Ontario, were inducted into the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Hall of Fame during the 59thannual meeting of the Idaho and Malheur County, Ore., onion growers’ associations. 

The meeting attracted several hundred farmers and other people involved in the two states’ onion industries.

The Idaho-Eastern Oregon onion growing region is one of the nation’s largest by total volume produced and the area’s 300 onion farmers produce about 1.3 billion pounds of Spanish bulb onions each year, which is about 25 percent of the nation’s total supply. 

The two states’ onion industries are closely linked and represented by the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee. The states’ onion associations established a joint hall of fame in 1986 to recognize and celebrate people who have made outstanding achievements and contributions to the region’s onion industry. 

The hall of fame award “recognizes individuals who have greatly helped our industry and who have been big promoters of onions from the Idaho-Eastern Oregon growing area,” said John Wong, an Idaho onion farmer and shipper who is chairman of the IEOOC’s hall of fame committee.

Some of the people who have been inducted into the hall of fame have been great innovators who have helped take the industry to the next level, Wong said. 

But the award also recognizes “individuals who have selflessly put forth efforts to help the industry by serving on various onion industry boards and organizations,” he added.

“These are really forward-thinking people who have put in hours and hours and years and years of effort, often without pay, on behalf of the industry,” Wong said.

He said that’s the case with Winegar and Teramura, who both served on several onion industry committees and boards. They also traveled together to Washington, D.C., several times on behalf of the local onion industry.