More Importers Now Eligible to Serve on Watermelon Board
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a final rule that, effective April 1, will allow additional parties to qualify as an importer member of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. This rule eliminates the requirement that to be able to serve in this capacity an importer who both imports and handles watermelons must import more than 50% of the total volume of watermelons it handles and imports. AMS notes that because an increasing number of importers are now producing and handling watermelons as well, it has become difficult to find importers who meet the 50% import threshold.
The Board administers a nationally coordinated program of research, development, advertising and promotion designed to strengthen the watermelon’s position in the marketplace and to establish, maintain and expand markets for watermelons. This program is financed by assessments on producers growing 10 acres or more of watermelons, handlers of watermelons and importers of 150,000 pounds of watermelons or more per year, and this final rule has no impact on those assessment rates.