WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced the appointment of 15 new members to serve on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Emerging Markets.

"We appreciate the contribution that these individuals are making to serve on this committee," Veneman said. "Their expertise and advice is invaluable in helping develop market economies for American producers, processors and exporters."

Newly appointed are: Julie Adams, Modesto, Calif.; Robert Bignami, Orland, Calif.; Carol Chandler, Selma, Calif.; Janice Cooper, Walnut Grove, Calif.; Robert Craig, Lansing, Mich.; Howard Gochberg, White Bear Lake, Minn.; Edgar Hicks, West Des Moines, Iowa; Edwin Jewett Jr., Baton Rouge, La.; Mark Kuechler, Spotsylvania, Va.; David Lyons, Washington, D.C.; Jenifer McBeath, Fairbanks, Alaska; George Obernagel, Waterloo, Ill.; Russell Redding, Harrisburg, Pa.; Alex Sou, Kapolei, Hawaii; and Bonnie Wolfe, Potomac Falls, Va. The 15 newly appointed members will serve until the end of 2006.

They will join five other members who were appointed to 2-year terms in May 2003: Gail Carlson, Arlington, Va.; Geralyn Contini, Baton Rouge, La.; Harriett Paul, Tallahassee, Fla.; John Tarburton, Dover, Del.; and James Willrett, Malta, Ill.

The committee reviews funding proposals under the Emerging Markets Program, which is administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The program supports private and governmental projects to promote U.S. agricultural exports in emerging economies. Congress reauthorized the program in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The committee also advises USDA on private sector efforts to enhance food and rural business systems in developing countries.

Committee members have expertise in international agriculture, trade and marketing, especially as they relate to emerging market economies. They serve without compensation.

For more information on the Emerging Markets Program, contact Douglas Freeman at (202) 720-4327; fax: (202) 720-9361; e-mail: emo@fas.usda.gov. Information on the advisory committee and the Emerging Markets Program is also available on the Web at http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/em-markets/em-markets.html.