Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the appointment of six producer and six handler members to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board. The members will serve three-year terms beginning immediately and ending on Dec. 31, 2012

Two producer members have been reappointed for a second term. They are Keith Hall of Ryan, Okla., District Two; and Robert Rawlins, Rebecca, Ga., District Three.

Newly appointed producer members are: Hank Floyd, Malone, Fla.; District Two; Ricky Tucker, Enigma, Ga., District Three; and Gene Guerra, Elsa, Texas, and Dana Cornell Strong, Arlington, Texas, District Six.

Newly appointed handler members are: Brent Jackson, Autryville, N.C., and Tony Moore, Raleigh, N.C., District Two; Angela O'Neal Chappell, Barnwell, S.C., and Leslie Ann Bloebaum, Tifton, Ga., District Three; and Ward Thomas, Palmhurst, Texas, and Tony Anderson, Mission, Texas, District Six.

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. Watermelon producers, handlers and importers finance the board's programs through assessments.

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

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