The 2010 Farm Service Agency county committee elections begin Friday with USDA mailing ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 6, 2010. FSA Administrator Jonathan Coppess says all eligible farmers and ranchers can make a difference by voting in this year's county committee elections. The Administrator particularly encourages minority and women producers to get involved so that county committees fairly represent the producers of a county or multi-county jurisdiction.
Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support loans and payments; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster payments for some commodities; emergency programs and payment eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm also may be eligible to vote. Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center.