Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman says the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee has been rechartered and that USDA is seeking nominations for membership.

The original committee, whose two-year term expired Aug. 6, was created to provide suggestions and ideas to the secretary of Agriculture on how USDA can tailor its programs to meet the fruit and vegetable industry's needs. The re-chartered committee will consist of up to 25 industry members appointed by the Agriculture secretary to serve two-year terms.

The members will represent the fruit and vegetable industry and will include representatives of fresh fruit and vegetable growers or shippers; fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers; brokers; retailers; fruit and vegetable processors and fresh cut processors; foodservice suppliers; state departments of agriculture; and trade associations.

Individuals, organizations and groups affiliated with the categories listed above are invited to nominate individuals for membership on the re-established Committee. Nominations should describe and document the proposed member's qualifications for membership to the committee, and list their name, title, address, telephone, and fax number.

In appointing individuals to the committee, USDA says it is seeking a diverse group of members interested in providing suggestions and ideas on how USDA can tailor its programs to meet the fruit and vegetable industry's needs.

Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 6 and should be sent to Robert C. Keeney, Deputy Administrator, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Room 2077-S/USDA Stop 0235, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington D.C. 20250 0235; e-mail: robert.keeney@usda.gov. Individuals nominated to the committee or receiving nominations should contact Sandra Gardei, the federal designated official, to receive the necessary forms for membership: phone (202) 720 0988; e-mail: sandra.gardei@usda.gov.

Membership shall include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and limited resource agriculture producers.