CATCH THE BUZZ – Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Members and Alternates to the National Honey Board

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today appointed four members and five alternate members to serve on the National Honey Board. The appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Dec. 31, 2019, except the additional alternate producer member, who will serve the remainder of a term expiring Dec. 31, 2018.

The producer member appointed is Blake Scott Shook, of Melissa, Texas, and the alternate producer member is Joan M. Gunter, of Towner, N.D, with Joseph M. Sanroma, of Lecompte, La., appointed as an additional alternate producer member.

The first handler member appointed is Michelle Poulk, of Waxahachie, Texas, and Melissa Ashurst-Foott, of El Centro, Calif., is the alternate first handler member.

The appointed importer member is Andy Sargeantson, of New Canaan, Conn., with Gregory B. Olson, of Bloomington, Minn., as the alternate importer member.

The marketing cooperative member appointed is Lisa L. Hansel, of Sioux City, Iowa, and Jeff Hull, of Battle Lake, Minn. is the alternate marketing cooperative member.

Board members selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture administer the program. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight of the National Honey Board in accordance with the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 and the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Information Order.   USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by the programs.

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 research and promotion boards that are industry-funded and empower agricultural industries, including the forest products industry, with a framework to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.

For more information about the National Honey Board, contact Patricia Petrella at (202) 720-9915, or email

For more information about research and promotion programs, visit

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