The National Watermelon Promotion Board is here to help you and your watermelon business. But do you understand how the NWPB works? In this section, you will find information on the formation of the Board from the history of the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act and Plan, a listing of the current Board of Directors and Committees which they serve on, information on the Nominations process to be on the Board, a Meeting Schedule for the 2019 year, the NWPB Mission and Strategic Plan, and finally the information you will need to understand the Paying of Assessments.

Calendar of Due Dates

History of the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act

The Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan (Plan) is authorized by the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act of 1985 (Act) [7 U.S.C. 4901-4916], as amended, which became effective on January 1, 1986. The Plan became effective in 1990 after a public hearing, notice and comment rulemaking, and a referendum. Initially, the Plan covered producers of 5 acres or more of watermelons and first handlers of watermelons and allowed persons to request a refund of their assessments under the Plan. The assessment rate is 3 cents per hundredweight of watermelons paid by both handlers and producers for a total of 6 cents per hundredweight. The program is administered by the National Watermelon Promotion Board under AMS supervision.

The Act was amended is 1993, to among other things, increase the exemption level for producers, eliminate refunds, authorize the assessment of imported watermelons, and add importer members to the Board. Watermelon producers, handlers, and importers approved these amendments in a national referendum conducted in late 1994. The program was amended accordingly in early 1995. Currently, producers of fewer than 10 acres of watermelons and importers of less than 150,000 pounds of watermelons per year are exempt from paying assessments. First handlers remit the producer and handler assessments to the Board, and import assessments are collected by the U.S. Customs Service (Customs), which remits the funds to the Board.

The Board recommended that the plan be amended again. Under the proposed amendment, all handlers - not just first handlers - of watermelons would be required to pay assessments under the Plan. The additional handlers would include brokers, wholesalers, and fresh-cut processors. A proposed rule on this amendment was published in the Federal Register on April 30, 2001. After obtaining public comments on the proposal, AMS conducted a referendum December 3, 2001 through January 11, 2002, to determine if watermelon producers, handlers and importers approve the amendment. The amendment was not approved.

Research and Promotion Act

Research and Promotion Plan

2019 National Watermelon Promotion Board

Current Board Members

Please contact the office at or by calling 407-657-0261 with any questions.

Our Vision

Make watermelon an every day, healthy choice.

Our Mission

To increase demand for watermelon through promotion, research and education. Our mission and vision are important to us here at the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) and we work every day mindful of what those statements mean. We're also aware that we work with some of the best men and women in business today - the more than 2,500 US commercial watermelon producers, handlers and importers.

In this section, you will find a break-out according to district and committee affiliation of the NWPB Board of Directors, whom the NWPB staff works with in close collaboration. You may also meet the NWPB staff and learn a little more about the people who are working for you.

Additionally, you also have the opportunity to check out the board's research projects. From time to time, we will be updating our survey section so that we may get a pulse rating on what items and trends are most important to you. Feel free to submit comments to us in our feedback section. Your input is extremely valuable to us.

And remember, we work for you!

Strategic Vision

Build on the taste and health proposition.
Change retailer perceptions and practices.
Build partnerships and leverage resources.
Create greater understanding and support within the industry.

Paying Assessments

Assessments shall be levied on all watermelons produced and first handled in the United States and all watermelons imported into the United States for consumption. No more than one assessment on a producer, handler, or importer shall be made of any lot of watermelons. The handler shall be assessed an equal amount on a per unit basis as the producer. If a person performs both producing and handling functions on any same lot of watermelons, both assessments shall be paid by such person. In the case of an importer, the assessment shall be equal to the combined rate for domestic producers and handlers and shall be paid by the importer at the time of entry of the watermelons into the United States.

[Excerpted from the Research and Promotion Plan, Section 1210.341]

2016 Handler's Report Spreadsheet (EXCEL)

Includes (1) Handler's Report, (2) Supplemental Form for New Producers, (3) Directions, and (4) Paperwork Reduction Act of 1985


Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that we receive at the National Watermelon Promotion Board regarding who is required to pay the assessment. These answers are intended to be a guideline to help you and your company gain a better understanding of the requirements of our program.

These guidelines are consistent with the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan that was authorized by Congress to support marketing efforts. We highly recommend that you refer to the Plan for the specific requirements of the program.

Q: I produce watermelon, do I pay the assessment?

A: If you grow over 10 acres of watermelon, then you are subject to a three cents per hundred weight assessment. You do not pay that directly to the NWPB if you sell to a first handler. The first handler is required to deduct the 3 cents per hundredweight (CWT) from what you invoice them and remit that to the NWPB. They are also responsible for remitting an additional three cents per hundredweight (CWT) assessment. The first handler adds your three cents with their three cents and remits a total of six cents per hundredweight (CWT) to the NWPB.

Q: Who is a first handler?

A: The first handler is the person who initially performs the handling function of placing the watermelons in the stream of commerce. Such person may be a fresh shipper, processor, producer who sells directly to retailers or export markets, or other person who takes title from the producers and moves the watermelons into the stream of commerce. A common or contract carrier of watermelons owned by another person is not considered a first handler.

Please note the term “other” could include a number of different types of businesses. The Plan gives examples of those who could also be classified as handlers such as a processor, broker, producer who sells directly to retailers or export markets, and cooperative marketing association. Those are only examples and are not a comprehensive list of all situations. A wholesaler may even be a first handler if he handles watermelon. The intention of the law was not to include retailers or wholesale retailers. This is referenced in the Plan (Section 1210.601 (5)).

Q: Is there any situation where a producer would pay the assessment directly to the NWPB?

A: Yes. The producer could also be considered a first handler in two instances. First, the producer would be subject to reporting directly the NWPB if he/she sells directly to retailers, roadside stands, peddlers, or exports to a company outside the United States. Secondly, they would also be considered a first handler if the producer sells directly through a broker who sells to the retailer with the producers’ name on the invoice. In both instances, the producer would be required to report both the producer’s and first handler’s assessment for a total of six cents per hundredweight (CWT) assessment.

Q: I am a producer and I pack, grade and bin my own watermelon, but only sell to a watermelon shipper who, in turn, sells to a retailer and sometimes a processor. Am I then considered a first handler?

A: No, the shipper is because you are not selling direct to the retailer. In this instance the shipper is the first handler and neither you nor the processor is the first handler. However, if you were to sell to the processor directly, then the processor would be the first handler as defined in the Plan (Section 1210.517 (12).

Q: Is there anything I can do as a producer to help the process run smoother?

A: Yes, and it’s easy. The industry’s Board of Directors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has authorized the use of “Buyer’s Notice of Assessment Liability” stickers that can be used by producers. The producer simply applies the sticker to the invoice they send to the first handler. The sticker reminds the first handler of how they need to collect the three cents from the producer through the invoice and add it to their three cents assessment and remit the total of six cents to the NWPB. The stickers are available from the NWPB at no charge.

Q: This information is good, but what if I want to get more details about NWPB law?

A: Start by calling our (407) 657-0261 and talking to one of our Industry Affairs Associates. We also have made the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan, as well as the Act, available for download.

Q: What does the NWPB do with my assessments?

A: Under the guidance of the NWPB Board of Directors made up of industry members and with the approval and oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the NWPB utilizes the assessments to run Communications, Marketing and Research programs that are all developed to help encourage the sales and consumption of watermelons. We encourage industry members to attend the NWPB board meetings or other industry meetings where the NWPB will be presenting their programs. It’s a great way to learn about the programs, ask questions and understand how the funds are used to promote watermelons.

See how the NWPB is investing in growing demand for watermelon!

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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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