WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency county committees begins on Thursday.
“County committees allow farmers and ranchers to make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve their needs,” Acting FSA Administrator Chris Beyerhelm said. “We strongly encourage all eligible producers to visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. There’s an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers.”
County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. Committees consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are over 7,700 farmer and ranchers serving on FSA county committees.
Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, and reside in the local administrative area where the election is being held.
After the nomination period, candidates will encourage the eligible producers in their local administrative area to vote. FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 6. Ballots will be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 4. Newly-elected committee members and alternates will take office on Jan. 1, 2018.
To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1. Locate a local office atoffices.usda.gov and visit to get more information.