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National Watermelon Promotion Board Seeks Directors

The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) will hold a nomination teleconference on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 at 8:00 A.M. (PT) for district 4 and Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 at 10:00 A.M. (PT) for district 5 to nominate qualified watermelon producers and watermelon handlers to fill open positions as directors of the Board.

District 4 — The States of: Connecticut, Delaware,Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, NewHampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont,Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC.District 5 — The States of: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The NWPB encourages all women, minorities and persons with disabilities who qualify as watermelon producers and handlers to attend the meeting and run for nomination to the NWPB.

All watermelon producers and handlers in District 4 & 5 are encouraged to attend and vote to nominate their representatives to the NWPB. Nominations are submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Secretary of Agriculture makes the final appointments to the NWPB. The newly appointed Board members term of office will begin on January 1st, 2023, and end December 31st, 2025.

The Board members administer promotion and research programs for watermelon. The NWPB works to increase consumer demand for watermelon and expand domestic and foreign markets through its marketing, consumer public relations and education programs. The non-profit Board works with an administrative staff to enact retail, foodservice and media promotions and research programs.

All Board members are required to attend two meetings each year to become familiar with and develop the Board’s variety of marketing, research and education programs.

The NWPB represents about 800 commercial watermelon producers, handlers and importers that finance all of the Board’s programs through assessments on watermelons as authorized by the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act. The 30-member Board is currently comprised of 10 producers, 10 handlers, 9 importers, and a member who represents the public.

Board members are nominated by their peers, and nominations are submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, who makes final appointments to the Board. These board members oversee all aspects of the Board, including setting policies and deciding how the Board’s budget is invested in promotion, research and education programs. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service monitors the Board’s operations.

To be eligible for nomination, producers must grow 10 or more acres of watermelon, and handlers must be the first handler of watermelon, according to §1210.306 and §1210.308 of the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan.

Consistent with §1210.403, the NWPB will allow proxy voting for Board nominees. Individuals wishing to vote by proxy should prepare signed, dated statements, including the proxy voter’s printed name, address, telephone number, identity as a producer or handler, and the name of the individual authorized to cast the proxy vote. These statements should be given to those authorized to cast the proxy vote, who will then provide the statements to the NWPB no later than Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022.

The producers and handlers appointed to the Board will represent the NWPB’s interests throughout the district in meetings and other forums, and should be dedicated to supporting the Board’s marketing, promotion, research and education programs.

Additional information regarding the elections and nomination procedures may be obtained by contacting NWPB Director of Operations & Industry Affairs Rebekah Dossett (407) 605-5984 or Industry Affairs Manager Andrea Smith (407) 613-2972.

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