Release No.: 029-14
Hakim Fobia (202) 690-0488
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2014 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that watermelon producers, handlers, and importers have voted to amend the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan importer eligibility requirements for service on the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) conducted the referendum from Jan.13, 2014, through Jan. 27, 2014. Ballots were mailed to all eligible individuals who produced, handled, or imported watermelons between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012, the representative period, and who currently produce, handle, or import watermelons.
In the referendum, 74 percent of those voting favored amending the plan. The amendment would allow persons who both import and handle watermelons to choose whether they would like to seek representation on the board as an importer or a handler.
The Watermelon Research and Promotion Act requires that a referendum be conducted before changes to the plan go into effect and that the amendment be approved by a majority of producers, handlers, and importers of watermelons voting in the referendum.
Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, were authorized by Congress, and date back to 1966. Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 21 research and promotion boards. They empower agricultural industries by establishing a framework for them to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight, helping to ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.
For more information about research and promotion programs, visit www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion
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