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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack announced the appointment of six watermelon producers, six watermelon handlers and two watermelon importers to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

"These appointees represent a cross section of the industry, and I am confident that watermelon producers, handlers and importers will be well served by them," Mr. Vilsack said in a Dec. 30 press release announcing the appointments.

Four producers and three handlers have been reappointed for a second term, and two new producers and three handlers have been appointed to serve on the board for the next three-year term of office beginning Jan. 1, 2011 and ending on Dec. 31, 2013. Two importers have been appointed to serve on the board for one year beginning immediately and ending on Dec. 31, 2011.

Reappointed members representing producers are (District 4) Will T. Hales, Salisbury, MD, and Mike Horrall, Oaktown, IN; (District 5) Adam Icardo, Bakersfield, CA; and (District 7) Jack S. Thomson, Bakersfield, CA.

Reappointed members representing handlers are (District 4) M. Kelly Tyner, Vincennes, IN; (District 5) Dan Van Groningen, Manteca, CA, and Ron Perry, Ripon, CA.

Newly appointed members representing producers are (District 5) Dave Celli Jr., Stockton, CA; (District 7) David A. Wuertz, Chandler, AZ.

Newly appointed members representing handlers are (District 4) Bradley L. Toney, Oaktown, IN; (District 7) Shelley Harrison-Valdivia, Rio Rico, AZ, and T.J. Runyan, Las Cruces, NM.

Newly appointed members representing importers are Barbara Murillo, Nogales, AZ, and Avi Nir, Parkland, FL.

Authorized under the Watermelon Research & Promotion Act of 1985, the board administers an industry-funded national research and promotion program to maintain and expand markets for watermelon.