A new U.S. Department of Agriculture ruling is expected to make it easier for Walla Walla sweet onion growers to take advantage of a longer growing season.

In a final rule published in the June 17 Federal Register, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service extended from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 the due date for shippers in the Walla Walla Valley of southeast Washington and northeast Oregon to file end-of-the-season handler reports and assessment payments.

Shippers had requested the extra month because of advances in the Walla Walla industry, according to the final rule.

“Handlers have indicated to the committee that advancements in Walla Walla sweet onion production and storage techniques have extended the regular season for the shipment of such onions until the end of August,” according to the report. “As a result, it has become more difficult for handlers to gather the information required in time to meet the Sept. 1 deadline.”