The National Watermelon Association, Inc. is a voluntary, membership trade association dedicated to making a positive difference in the business and lives of its Watermelon family – those involved in the growing, grading, handling, transporting, distributing, and selling of watermelon. The National Association has members in over 30 states, Canada and Central America and is comprised of regional chapters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois-Indiana, Maryland-Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and the Western United States.
In order to assure federal legislative and regulatory decisions are made with the industry’s concerns in mind the National Watermelon Association is the voice of its members on issues of trade, labor, invasive pest and disease, pesticide and nutrient use, federal legislation, scientific research, farm & packer-based food safety, trucking, etc.
Focusing on the highest research priorities the National Watermelon Association funds the industry’s production research needs through scientific grants to numerous universities and other organizations each year. Disease research (vine decline, phytophthora, gummy stem blight), farming improvement research (plant grafting), and value-added research (ethanol), are examples of the Association’s investment in the success of its members and the Watermelon industry.
Author of the industry’s food safety and traceability program, Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Watermelon Supply Chain, the National Watermelon Association has led the way in the area of food safety.
The National Watermelon Association is a respected clearinghouse of information, publishing industry trend stories, key legislative and regulatory activities, scientific research, effectively responding to the industry’s needs.
It’s quarterly online and paper publication, The Vineline Magazine, is just one of the ways the Association keeps its members informed and connected.
The Association can also be found on Twitter (www.twitter.com/watermelonag), Facebook (www.facebook.com/nwawatermelonag), and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/watermelonag), in addition to its home site, www.watermelon.ag.
The Association gathers together at the National Watermelon Convention in February of each year. The members and their families gather for special seminars, committee meetings, networking, fellowship and fun.
The Executive Committee is the governing body of the National Watermelon Association and is annually elected by the membership. This committee meets twice per year (at the fall meeting and the national convention).
The National Watermelon Association is funded by donations generated primarily through the annual watermelon auction at the national convention as well as by sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers. Membership in one of the (9) regional chapters automatically enrolls a member into the National Association.
The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) is a commodity promotion organization that operates under the oversight of the United States Department of Agriculture. At the urging of the industry, Congress passed the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act in 1995, which provided the legal framework for the NWPB. In compliance with the Act, the Board operates in the most fiscally responsible manner and disseminates fact-based information.
The NWPB is funded by shareholders (producers, processors, handlers, importers, etc.), with a board of 36 elected directors also appointed by the US Secretary of Agriculture. They represent all watermelon production areas in the US and oversee the strategic direction, allocation of resources, and operations of the NWPB. Although the NWPB is under the supervision of the US Department of Agriculture, it is solely supported by the industry and receives NO taxpayer or government funds.
The NWPB works to increase consumer demand for watermelon through promotions, marketing, research, communication and educational programs. It is considered the marketing and communications arm of the watermelon industry.
For more information about the difference between the National Watermelon Association and the NWPB, click here.
The Watermelon Story
Scientists believe the watermelon originated in tropical Africa, although it was found cultivated in Italy, India and southern Asia. Europeans introduced the watermelon to America and is currently grown throughout the United States and Central America.
Watermelon is in the same family as pumpkin, cucumber, squash, and specialty melons. They are available both seeded and seedless, and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Watermelon is over 90% water, and the pulp is naturally sweet with many health and nutritional benefits. It is an excellent source of lycopene, as well as vitamin A, B6, C, potassium and citrulline.
Association Chapters are currently active in the following states
Current Presidents and Chapter Websites
- Heather Raulerson – President of Alabama Watermelon Association
- Laura Land – President of Florida Watermelon Association
- Dick Minor – President of Georgia Watermelon Association
- Rick Linenburg – President of Illinois-Indiana Watermelon Association
- Kevin Evans – President of Maryland-Delaware Watermelon Association
- Richard Brantley – President of North Carolina Watermelon Association
- Scotty Sandifer – President of South Carolina Watermelon Association
- Gerry Lozano – President of Texas Watermelon Association
- Tashi Zouras – President of Western Watermelon Association
National Watermelon Association Contact Information
190 Fitzgerald Road, Suite 3, Lakeland, Florida 33813