Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Hass Avocado Board Members and Alternates

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 10:00am
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Release No.: 045-16

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today appointed four members and four alternates to serve on the Hass Avocado Board.  The appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Nov. 1, 2015, and ending on Oct. 31, 2018.

Appointed producer members include: Scott Bauwens of Los Angeles, Calif., and Elaine Veyna de Bannatyne of Fillmore, Calif.

Appointed producer alternate members include: Benjamin F. Van Der Kar of Carpinteria, Calif., and Pamela Tahim Thakur of Fullerton, Calif.

Appointed importer members include: Debbie Willmann of Riverside, Calif., and Javier Medina of Pharr, Texas.

Appointed importer alternate members include: Heath Shoup of Murrieta, Calif., and Jose Antonio Castro Echecopar of Rockville, Md.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight of the Hass Avocado Board in accordance with the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research and Information Act of 2000 and the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Order.  The program is administered by board members who are selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by the programs.  USDA encourages all eligible women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to seek nomination for a seat on the Hass Avocado Board.

Research and promotion programs are industry funded, authorized by Congress, and date back to 1966, when Congress passed the Cotton Research and Promotion Act.  Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 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 conducts important research and promotion activities.  AMS provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.  For more information about research and promotion programs, visit  For more information on the board, please contact the Promotion and Economics Division by phone:  (202) 720-9915.

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