Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the appointment of Thomas R. Cotton, Jr. from Suffolk, Va., to the Peanut Standards Board.

The Board consists of 18 members with representation equally divided among peanut producers and peanut industry representatives. There are nine producers from the following peanut-producing regions: three from the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia and Florida); three from the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico); and three from Virginia and North Carolina.

The board also includes three peanut industry representatives from each of the three peanut-producing regions. Appointments to the Peanut Standards Board are for three-year terms of office. Cotton replaces an industry representative from the Virginia-Carolina peanut-producing region for the remainder of a term of office ending June 30, 2009.

Section 1308 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 provided for the establishment of the board and requires USDA to consult with the board in advance before establishing or changing quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts.