Many farmers count on the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for program guidance and assistance. Now, they have a chance to help us out!
FSA is currently seeking election candidates to serve on our local County Committees (COC). Serving on the COC is an excellent way to represent and protect the needs of your county’s farming community.
COCs are responsible for the administration of federal farm programs at the local level. Some of the duties included are promoting FSA programs, hearing appeals from local producers, and making fair, unbiased decisions on program eligibility, disaster programs, conservation programs, and other important agricultural issues.
With every decision made, the committee’s first priority is to treat every farmer fairly. FSA reaches out annually to its agricultural communities to get equitable representation on their County Committees to ensure policies are carried out fairly.
Since this election only happens once a year, here is a COC refresher. For election purposes, counties are divided into Local Administrative Areas, or LAAs. Each LAA has one producer serve a three-year term on the Farm Service Agency County Committee. Counties may have three to five LAAs.
Each year, an election is held in a LAA to replace the committee member whose three-year term is expiring.
There are three steps in the election process, first the call for nominations, second the election and lastly installing the new committee member. Nominations for candidates will be accepted from June 15 through Aug. 2, in the applicable LAA.
Anyone seeking election must be a resident in the LAA holding the election, participate or cooperate in an FSA program and are of legal voting age. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as candidates.
Also, organizations representing socially disadvantaged minorities and women farmers or ranchers are encouraged to nominate candidates.
To be valid, a nomination form must be signed by the person being nominated; indicating agreement to serve if elected, and returned to the FSA county office by the deadline.
Voting ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters in November. If you, or someone you know, are interested in becoming a member on your local County Committee, submit a nomination form! A nomination form, FSA-669A and details may be picked up at your local USDA Service Center, FSA county office or downloaded from http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/fsa0669a_commiteeelectform.pdf.
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