Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced three appointments to the Mushroom Council.

“I am pleased that these individuals have agreed to serve on the Mushroom Council,” said Veneman.

Newly appointed to three-year terms are: Region 1: Lisa Hemker of Rosemont, Minn.; Region 2: Michael W. Pratola III of Avondale, Pa.; and Region 3: Robert B. Crouch of Econdido, Calif. The appointees will serve on the nine-member council from Jan. 1, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2006.

Authorized under the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990, the council administers a national program of research and provides nutrition and industry information to consumers. Persons who produce or import an average of more than 500,000 pounds of mushrooms annually for the fresh market pay assessments to fund the program.

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service monitors the operations of the Mushroom Council. The council reimburses the federal government for the cost of administering the program.