Jul 19, 2011
USDA finalizes national watermelon promotion board redistricting

USDA announced that it is adopting the final rule to add two importer seats and change the boundaries of all districts under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan.

At least once every five years, pursuant to the provisions and regulations, the plan is reviewed and, if needed, changes are made based on U.S. watermelon production and the amount of assessments paid by importers.

Under this realignment, each domestic district will represent, on average, 16 percent of total U.S. production. Further, the percentage of assessments paid by importers increased to 29 percent and as a result, the number of importers represented on the board will increase by two. Therefore, the board will consist of 37 members: 14 producers, 14 handlers, eight importers and one public member.

Due to the re-alignment of districts, the following vacancies are created: one producer vacancy in District 2; one handler vacancy in District 3; one producer vacancy in District 7; and two importer vacancies.
The final rule, published in the July 18 Federal Register, became effective July 19. The rule is available here.

For additional information, contact Jeanette Palmer, Marketing Specialist, Research and Promotion Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Department of Agriculture (AMS), Stop 0244, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-0244; or faxed to (202) 205-2800 or via e-mail.

In addition, copies of the rule may be requested from the same mailing address or by telephone at (888) 720-9917 during regular business hours. The final rule is also available at www.regulations.gov, and on the AMS website.

AMS monitors the operations of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in accordance with the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act of 1985. The board administers an industry-funded national research and promotion program to maintain and expand markets for watermelons.

More information about the research and promotion programs can be found here.

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