Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced the appointment of two producers, two handlers, six importers and one public member to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

They will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2009 and ending on Dec. 31, 2011.

Chandler Mack, of Babson Park, Fla., District One, has been re-appointed as a producer member. Re-appointed importer members are: Jesus Chuy Lopez, Rio Rico, Ariz. and Alan M. Guzi, Delray Beach, Fla.

Jim Barfield, Immokalee, Fla., District One, is a newly appointed producer member. Newly appointed handler members are: Jean Marinaro, Vero Beach, Fla. and Stephen Ross Nichols, Lakeland, Fla.

Newly appointed importer members are: Jeffery D. Fawcett, McAllen, Texas; James Glenn Henderson Jr., Edinburg, Texas; Les Hefner, McAllen, Texas and Dale DeBerry Jr., Boerne, Texas.

Patrick J. O'Connor, Mason, Mich., is a newly appointed public member.

The producer members were nominated by producers, the handler members were nominated by handlers and the public member was nominated by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Watermelon producers, handlers and importers finance the board's programs through assessments.

Authorized under 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 watermelon. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service monitors the operations of the board.

More information about the research and promotion programs can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/fv/rpb.html.