Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Onion disaster

Truck after truck dumps rotting onion at the Clay Peak Regional Landfill in Payette  -- Ritter photo

Rotting Onions being dumped in Washington County

Payette—More than 14 storage facilities were damaged by one of the worst winters in a hundred years.

Millions of pounds of onions were lost when storage sheds were crushed under deep snow.

Now onion producers are in a race against the clock to dump the rotting onions before onion maggots hatch. Producers must keep the pests away from onion fields and storage sheds before they start hatching in the coming weeks or run the risk of contaminating this years crop.

Crews are covering the mountains of onions with a coat of lime and burying them to check the spread of maggots. 

The Treasure Valley is the largest onion growing region in the world. The loss of the 2016 crop has nearly doubled the price of onions,  now producers that took devastating losses with low market prices are now losing more money  working disposing debris, toxic waste and the onions, causing incalculable hardships in the five western onion-raising counties.

The Washington County officials are helping producers with damaged onions and property. “Were doing what we can, but when the new onions start, we have to to maker sure we protect our whole growing region from onion maggot flies, so we’re working to prevent that,” said Washington County Commissioner Kirk Chandler.

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