The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) operates with a single objective: to increase consumer demand for watermelon through promotion, research, and educational programs. The Orlando-based non-profit organization was formed in 1989 by watermelon growers and shippers. Since then, the NWPB has developed marketing programs to boost watermelon sales in supermarkets throughout the U.S. and Canada. NWPB is also working to develop sales opportunities for watermelon in Japan and the U.K. According to Executive Director Mark Arney, "Retail produce buyers are the gatekeepers who make key decisions regarding how watermelon is sold, displayed and advertised to consumers. We provide these buyers with key information and promotional programs to help the industry move more watermelon."

Through high profile publicity on television, radio, newspapers and magazines, the board has showcased watermelon as a healthy, refreshing, versatile fruit. Thanks in part to board efforts, watermelon is not only for picnics anymore, but has won a regular place on consumers' shopping lists enjoyed year-round in slices or added to a wide variety of desserts, drinks and other recipes.

Today, the NWPB represents growers, shippers and importers of watermelon in the United States. These members fund the organization through assessments. The NWPB's Board of Directors, comprised of watermelon producers, handlers, importers and a member who represents the public, decides how to invest its budget in board programs. The budget is comprised of assessments paid by growers, shippers and importers. U.S. producers and the first handlers each pay three cents per hundredweight on watermelons handled for human consumption. Importers pay six cents per hundredweight.

View the current board members: Current Board Members

Straight Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about National Checkoff Programs.

What is a checkoff program?
A checkoff is an industry-funded generic marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for an agricultural commodity. This can be done through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools. These programs are similar to businesses funded by shareholders (producers, processors, handlers, importers, etc.) with a board of directors that is accountable to the shareholders.

Who pays for the checkoff?
Each checkoff program is supported entirely by its respective industry, which could include U.S. producers, processors, handlers and importers. NO TAXPAYER OR GOVERNMENT FUNDS ARE INVOLVED. Contribution rates vary with the different checkoffs, but they are always based on a percentage of net sales or assessed at a set rate per production unit. Checkoff program participants contribute at the same program rate, no matter where their operation is located.

How do checkoffs benefit producers, processors, or importers?
The fundamental goal of every checkoff program is to increase commodity demand, thereby increasing the potential long-term economic growth of all sectors of the industry.

Do checkoffs benefit consumers?
Yes, checkoff programs benefit consumers by providing:

  • Product information to help make informed choices.
  • Research to create new and improved products that meet consumer quality, safety and nutritional expectations.

Who directs checkoff programs?
Checkoff programs are directed by industry-governed boards, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. These boards are responsible for allocating funds and approving business plans and programs, with USDA approval.

Checkoffs educate and inform key audiences and lead to product innovations and better choices.

Do checkoff programs receive government assistance?
No. Checkoffs are funded entirely by their respective industries, NOT by taxpayers or government agencies.

How is the federal government involved in checkoff programs?
Checkoff programs were established by acts of Congress. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has primary oversight responsibilities. USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) provides additional oversight responsibilities for checkoff program activities in international markets. USDA reviews and approves all checkoff program budgets, producers communications, advertisements, news releases and projects.

Who started checkoffs?
Checkoff programs are assessments brought into existence by the industry supporting them and made mandatory through an act of Congress.

Are all checkoff programs the same?
No. Although all checkoff programs do have a similar goal and purpose to increase commodity demand and long-term economic growth for their respective industries they all accomplish this in different ways that are best suited for the market structure of each commodity.

Checkoffs are directed and fully funded by their respective industries, to stimulate demand and strengthen industries.

Any more questions?
For more information about individual checkoffs, contact any one of the national checkoff programs listed below:

Other Watermelon Organizations
The National Watermelon Promotion Board is here for you. However, on a local level, you may contact your state watermelon association for information closer to home. View the list of state associations at the National Watermelon Association website: http://www.nationalwatermelonassociation.com/state_chapters.php.

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Watermelon Board

Representing 1,500 watermelon growers, shippers and importers nationwide, our goal is to promote the nutritional, culinary and convenience benefits of watermelon.
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