Gwen Sparks, (202) 260-8210
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2014 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed 13 members to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Appointments will begin immediately.
Newly appointed board members, serving three-year terms of office, include producers Autumn Freeman of Bruceville, Ind.; Sarah Frey-Talley of Keenes, Ill.; Arthur Saikhon, Jr. of El Centro, Calif.; Kevin A. Antongiovanni of Bakersfield, Calif.; Chuck Botsford of Lake Oswego, Ore.; and John Morrow of Deming, N.M.
Handlers Ed McClellan of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Joseph Paul Gomes of Manteca, Calif.; Joshua Knox of El Dorado Hills, Calif.; and David Mayhue of Springdale, Ark. have also been appointed to the board and will serve three-year terms of office. Handler Brad W. Jones, of Clermont, Fla., will complete a two-year term.
Reappointed members include handlers Thomas J. Runyan from Las Cruces, N.M., and Bradley L. Toney of Oaktown, Ind., who will each serve a three-year term of office.
Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, were authorized by Congress and date back to 1966. Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 20 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. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight, helping to ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.
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