The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the appointment of 10 members to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board. The appointees from Districts 4 and 5 will serve three-year terms beginning immediately to Dec. 31, 2025, and appointees from District 3 and Importer will serve two-year terms beginning immediately to Dec. 31, 2024.
Members appointed are:
- District 4 Producer: Jake Horrall, Oaktown, Indiana
- District 4 Producer: Blake Mouzin, Vincennes, Indiana
- District 4 Handler: Renee Goodwin, Keenes, Illinois
- District 4 Handler: Rachel Syngo, Punta Gorda, Florida
- District 5 Producer: Jason Van Groningen, Manteca, California
- District 5 Producer: Camille L. Lombardo, Los Angeles, California
- District 5 Handler: Kelly Colin Partch, Woodland, California
- District 5 Handler: Chris Elsie, Scottsdale, Arizona
- District 3 Handler: Matt Moore, Dalhart, Texas
- Importer: Michael LeMieux, Longwood, Florida
The 30-member board is comprised of 10 producers, 10 handlers, 9 importers and 1 public member. The producer and handler members are from five districts that divide the production of watermelons into equal production volume, and each district is represented on the Board by two producers and two handlers. For district representatives, nomination conventions are held in each of the respective districts. Nominations for importers are made by ballot or other means.
More information about the board is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Watermelon Promotion Board webpage and on the board’s website at www.watermelong.org.
Since 1966, Congress has authorized the development of industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool their resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight of 22 boards, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
AMS policy is that diversity of the boards, councils and committees it oversees should reflect the diversity of their industries in terms of the experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, and other distinguishing factors, including but not limited to individuals from historically underserved communities, that will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. Throughout the full nomination process, the industry must conduct extensive outreach, paying particular attention to reaching underserved communities, and consider the diversity of the population served and the knowledge, skills and abilities of the members to serve a diverse population.