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ORLANDO, FL -- Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack has appointed six members to serve on the National Mango Board for three-year terms beginning immediately and ending Dec. 31, 2012.

Ken Nabal of Frontera Produce in Boca Raton, FL, and Ronald Cohen of Vision Import Group LLC in River Edge, NJ, have been appointed as importers for district 1. In the first handler position, Anthony Godinez of Godinez International LLC in Hidalgo, TX, has been re-appointed for a second term. Venancio Marti of Martex Farms in Carolina, Puerto Rico, has been re- appointed for a second term as domestic producer. Two foreign producers were also appointed. They are Olaf Rasch of Fruticola del Sur S.A. in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and Guillermo Palmeros of Frutas Tropicales de los Idolos S.S.S. in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.

NMB Executive Director William Watson is enthusiastic about the appointments and about the board's prospects for 2010 and beyond. "We are excited about bringing in new industry leaders to serve on the National Mango Board," he said in a Feb. 4 press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Taken as a whole, our board members hold extensive knowledge of every stage of the mango supply chain. I'm confident that our new members will add to that brain trust and help us continue to grow as an organization."

The board said it is grateful for the service of the four board members, whose terms have ended. They are John-Campbell Barmmer of Chestnut Hill Farms in Miami; Isabel Freeland of Coast Tropical in Miami; Cesar Cabello of Productora y Comercializadora Cabello in Monterrey, Mexico; and Bonifacio Bustamante of CC Tropicales SA de CV in Escuinapa, Sinaloa, Mexico. Ms. Freeland will remain on the board in the role of ex-officio as she is the immediate past chairperson of the organization

"These outgoing board members were on the original roster when the board first convened in 2005," Mr. Watson said in the release. "They worked very hard to build the NMB from an idea to a functioning organization that's bringing results to the industry. It's always difficult to see board members leave, but we know they will continue to be leaders in the mango industry."

The newly appointed board members will participate in their first board meeting when the board convenes March 10 and 11 in Guadalajara, Mexico.