beauty shot of onions

How & Where Onions are Grown

From Seed to Table

Onions are grown commercially in more than 20 states, literally border-to-border and coast-to-coast. The National Onion Association estimates about 500 growers produce onions commercially in the United States, including organic. Virtually all onion producers grow other agricultural crops.

The word "miracle" aptly describes a seed.

Jack Kramer

From planting through harvest, onions are unique plants. Let us help you learn more about how they grow through pictures!


Domestic Onion Production

U.S. farmers plant approximately 125,000 acres of onions each year and produce about 6.75 billion pounds a year. This includes organic production, but excludes bulb onions for dehydration.

The U.S. has 4.5% of the world's population, accounts for 1.6% of the world onion acreage, and produces about 4% of the world's annual supply. The U.S. dry bulb onion crop value exceeds $1 billion at farmgate and generates $5-7 billion dollars at consumer purchase level.

The top three onion producing areas are California, Idaho-Eastern Oregon, and Washington. See table the below for U.S. onion acreage and production details.

U.S. Onion Acreage Estimates

State

Acres

Washington

24,110

Idaho-Eastern Oregon

22,800

California

17,170

Georgia

12,400

New York

9,150

Texas

7,600

West/Central Oregon

7,100

New Mexico

6,200

Colorado

4,323

Nevada

3,850

Michigan

2,550

Utah

1,640

Wisconsin

1,640

N. Dakota/Minnesota/Ohio

1,389

Other (FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, NC, NE, NJ, PA, SC, etc.)

915

Arizona

800

U.S. Onion Volume Estimates

State

Pounds

Idaho-Eastern Oregon

1,724,700,000

Washington

1,511,150,000

California

1,037,100,000

West/Central Oregon

466,750,000

New Mexico

372,000,000

Georgia

347,200,000

New York

332,000,000

Nevada

296,450,000

Colorado

150,400,000

Texas

117,800,000

Michigan

81,600,000

Utah

80,000,000

Wisconsin

71,250,000

N. Dakota/Minnesota/Ohio

69,450,000

Arizona

48,000,000

Other (FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, NC, NE, NJ, PA, SC, etc.)

33,200,000

2016 Data (preliminary)


International Onion Production and Trade

Approximately 190 countries grow onions for their own domestic use, and many are also involved in international trade. It is estimated that over 9.2 million acres of onions are harvested annually around the World. This production is grown from more than 8 million pounds of seed. Production is in excess of 3.2 billion 50# units according to sources at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Italy. Approximately 8 percent of this global onion production is traded internationally. Leading onion production countries are China, India, United States, Turkey, and Pakistan, respectively.

Onion Exports

U.S. onion exports amount to 11 - 14 million fifty pound bags per year. Leading export countries for the U.S. are Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, and Japan.

Onion Imports

U.S. onion imports total 16 - 20 million 50 pound bags annually. Leading countries importing into the U.S. are Mexico, Canada, Peru, and Chile.

June 2017


Food Safety

In 2010, the U.S. onion industry developed voluntary commodity specific food safety guidelines for the dry bulb onion supply chain. This document serves as guidance for growers and shippers to adhere to best practices and regulations governing safe vegetable production. The industry supports government efforts to provide a strong food safety regulatory framework that assures the public appropriate standards are in place and being met by the dry bulb onion supply chain.


Sweet Onion Sliders
Sweet Onion Sliders

When you get your hands on large, luscious sweet onions, fire up the grill and transform them into backyard or tailgating sliders topped with mayonnaise, parsley, and capers. These sliders are to surprise and impress your guests!
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