Julia A. Wickard, state executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced today that the nomination period for local FSA county committees began on Monday, June 17.
“County committees play a vital role in the administration of federal farm programs and are the voice of local landowners and farmers. They have a positive effect on rural communities as they represent farmers in their area of the county,” said Wickard. “We have been seeing an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates and I hope that trend continues.”
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. A complete list of eligibility requirements is posted online at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.
Farmers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2013 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2013. Elections will take place this fall.
While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. In Indiana, committees consist of 3 to 5 members that are elected by eligible producers.
FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning November 4. The voted ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by December 2. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 1, 2014.
For more information about FSA county committees, visit your local FSA county office or visit the website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.