4/18 – Atlanta Biz Chronicle – Ga.’s famous Vidalia faces threat | Atlanta Business Chronicle

Ga.’s famous Vidalia faces threat | Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 6:41am EDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 10:37am EDT

Opponents of Georgia’s proposed Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration have threatened a boycott of Georgia products, and could target the state’s largest vegetable crop — the Vidalia onion, which brings in $145 million a year, reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV. The official seasonal kickoff for the state’s famous onion is set for Monday. Boxes and bags are packed and ready for shipments across the country.

A tough anti-immigration bill was approved by state lawmakers last week and — if Gov. Nathan Deal signs it as expected — will become law in July.

Doug MacKenzie, with the Georgia Human Rights Coalition said of the threatened boycott, “It’s not just to boycott agriculture goods, it could be a boycott on convention business and it could cost the state literally hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Georgia’s Vidalias are huge business. The orbs are even being advertised on a large, electronic billboard in New York City’s Times Square, WXIA reports

Gary Black, Georgia’s new State Agriculture Commissioner, said Monday his department will soon comply with the legislature’s order to study of the bill’s possible economic impact on state goods, according to WXIA. His department will also look into whether Georgia should and could set up its own guest-worker program to allow many of those immigrants to stay in farm fields legally.

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