LA QUINTA, Calif. The National Watermelon Promotion Board set its board and budget and has a website redesign planned this year.
 
The board met Feb. 19 during the National Watermelon Association"s annual convention, and elected T.J. Runyan, owner of Mesilla Valley Produce, Hatch, N.M., as president. Tony Moore, president of Moore"s Produce Inc., Turkey, N.C., is the new vice president.
 
Stephanie Barlow, the board"s senior director of communications, said a revamp of watermelon.org is scheduled for later this year.
 
The board approved a $3.2 million budget at the meeting for 2015-16, which starts in April, and Barlow said she expects the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve it in March.
Among promotions scheduled for this year are:
  • continued sponsorship of Ross Chastain, a NASCAR Xfinity series driver, who will sport watermelon logos and art on his car for four or five races this year  
  • continued promotion at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in October and
  • a student-run promotion contest.
 
Late last year, the USDA appointed 13 members to serve on the board, who were sworn in at the February meeting. 
 
New members are: 
  • Katelyn Kelly Miller, Punta Gorda, Fla.  
  • Matthew Singletary, Alva, Fla.  
  • James Shepherd, Naples, Fla.  
  • Lee Wroten, Bartow, Fla.  
  • Zachary Fawcett, McAllen, Texas  
  • Rolando Rosales, Boca Raton, Fla.  
  • Ramon Murillo, Nogales, Ariz.  
  • Mario Cardenas, Boca Raton and 
  • Rob Richards, McAllen.
 
Re-appointed members are: 
  • John Gee of Temecula, Calif.  
  • Raul Paez of Nogales, Ariz.  
  • Gabriel Hinojosa, Mission, Texas and 
  • Richard De Los Santos, Austin, Texas.
 
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