WASHINGTON — A Waxahachie resident and Burleson’s Honey team member was appointed Wednesday by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to serve on the National Honey Board.

Michelle Poulk, along with three other members and four of the five alternates, were selected by Vilsack to serve three-year terms from Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2019. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) press release, the fifth alternate, which is the alternate for Poulk, will serve a term that expires Dec. 31, 2018.

Poulk was appointed to serve as the first handler position, with Melissa Ashurst-Foott, of El Centro, California, appointed as the first alternate.

Also according to the release, the producer member appointed was Blake Scott Shook, of Melissa, Texas, and the alternate producer member is Joan M. Gunter, of Towner, North Dakota, with Joseph M. Sanroma, of Lecompte, Louisiana, appointed as an additional alternate producer member. The appointed importer member is Andy Sargeantson, of New Canaan, Connecticut, with Gregory B. Olson, of Bloomington, Minnesota, as the alternate importer member. The marketing cooperative member appointed is Lisa L. Hansel, of Sioux City, Iowa, and Jeff Hull, of Battle Lake, Minnesota is the alternate marketing cooperative member.

According to the press release, board members selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture administer the program, but 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. The release also notes that the “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,” the release continues. “AMS provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.”

According to its website, Burleson's has been an industrial staple in Waxahachie since 1907.

"For the first 40 years of the history of our company, we operated as a honey beekeeping organization (producer) while also packing our honey for local distribution," the site reads. "Burleson's can be found in retail grocery stores throughout the central, southwest and southeast United States."

Burleson's Honey can be purchased at H-E-B, Walmart, Fiesta, Albertsons, Kroger, Tom Thumb, Target and several other big-box retailers.

For more information about research and promotion programs, visit, www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion.


Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(469) 517-1470