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 (Act) and Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan (Plan), the NWPB Vision, Mission and Strategic Vision, and finally the information you will need to understand the Paying of Assessments.

The watermelon R&P program operates as the National Watermelon Promotion Board. The program’s purpose is to maintain and expand existing markets and develop new markets for fresh watermelon. The program is administered under AMS oversight by the National Watermelon Promotion Board, which is composed of the watermelon industry – producers, handlers and importers nominated by their peers and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The NWPB conducts promotional, consumer information, and industry information programs. To fund these activities, producers and handlers each pay 3 cents per hundredweight (cwt.) on domestic watermelons, and importers pay 6 cents per cwt. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection collects the import assessments. The Board reimburses the Federal government for expenses incurred in administering that program.

No assessments are levied on watermelons grown by producers with fewer than 10 acres in watermelon production. Importers of less than 150,000 pounds of watermelons annually may request reimbursement of their assessments.

On June 8, 1989, the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan became effective, creating the program under the authority of the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act. Full History of Watermelon Research Plan and Act.

Our Vision

Make watermelon an everyday, 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 800 US commercial watermelon producers, handlers and importers.

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.

Industry FAQs

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.

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.

A producer or handler who operates under an approved National Organic Program (7 CFR part 205) (NOP) organic production or handling system plan may be eligible for an exemption. Please contact the Industry Affairs department for more information.

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 several 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)).

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.

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).

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.

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.

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