Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced the names of the first members chosen to serve on a newly established Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

Speaking at the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Veneman said, “This advisory committee will offer valuable advice on issues affecting the fruit and fresh produce industry.”

The 23 members appointed by Veneman to the new advisory committee were selected from 179 individuals nominated by their peers in industry. The committee is comprised of seven individuals representing fresh fruit and vegetable growers or shippers, four fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers, two brokers, two retailers, four fruit and vegetable processors and fresh cut processors, two foodservice suppliers, one trade association representative and one state department of agriculture official. Members will serve a two-year term.

The first meeting has been scheduled for April 16-17 in Washington. Members of the committee will serve without compensation, but with reimbursement of travel expenses and per diem expenses.

During her remarks, Veneman also reiterated the administration's goals for the farm bill and pledged quick implementation once a bill is final. In addition, she discussed efforts on homeland security, nutrition programs, trade and advances in technology that are helping the industry.

Further information about the first meeting will be published in the Federal Register and at www.ams.usda.gov/fv. Information can also be obtained by emailing robert.keeney@usda.gov or calling (202) 7204722.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 provides for the establishment and operation of advisory committees within the executive branch of the federal government.