Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the appointment of seven producer and six handler members to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

Four producer and five handler members have been reappointed for a second term, and three new producer and one handler members have been appointed to serve on the board for the next three-year term of office beginning immediately and ending on Dec. 31, 2009.

Reappointed producer members are: District 2 — William Rodney Jackson, Autryville, N.C.; District 3 — Joe V. Simmons, Pine View, Ga.; and District 6 — Rodney P. Stephens, Comanche, Texas, and Paul Wiggins, Somerville, Texas.

Reappointed handler members are: District 2 — Shawn Valentine-Shurley, Center Hill, Fla., and Rose Marie Elliotte, Branford, Fla.; District 3 — Greg Leger, Cordele, Ga., and Bradley J. O'Neal, Fairfax, S.C.; and District 6 — Paul R. Bowling, McAllen, Texas.

Newly appointed producer members are: District 2 — Keith Hall, Ryan, Okla; District 3 — Bob Rawlins, Rebecca, Ga.; and District 5 — Randall L. Hageman, Prosser, Wash. Kevin Vincent Green, District 6, Henderson, Texas, is a newly appointed handler member.

Authorized under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act of 1985, the National Watermelon Promotion 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