John R. Whitaker, executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, has announced that the nomination period for this year's County Committee election will begin on June 17, 2013. The nomination period continues through August 1, 2013, with elections taking place this fall. "The committee election process allows all producers to have a better chance of having their opinions and ideas expressed in the community in Iowa and the nation. FSA sees the role of our county committees as one that is vital," says Whitaker. "County FSA Committees operate under official regulations for federal farm programs. Committee members apply their judgment, experience and knowledge when making local decisions."
Individuals who serve on the local FSA County Committee make decisions regarding producer's appeals; commodity price support loans and payments; conservation programs; employing county executive directors; incentive, indemnity, and disaster payments for commodities; as well as for other farm disaster assistance. Members of the committee serve three-year terms. Nationally, there are more than 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to five members who are elected by eligible local producers.
Beginning farmers and women farmers are particularly encouraged to become involved
"FSA wants to ensure that we have a diverse committee, not only in the physical make -up of the committee, but making sure we have representative from all forms of agriculture," adds Whitaker. USDA is committed to increasing the participation of all farmers on the FSA County Committees, with an emphasis on women and minority farmers. Beginning farmers are also highly encouraged to become involved, he says.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must:
* Be of legal voting age and eligible to vote in a county committee election
* Live in the LAA holding an election
* Participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA
Individuals may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Additionally, organizations representing minorities and women may nominate candidates. To become a nominee, all eligible individuals must sign form FSA-669, which includes a statement that the nominee agrees to serve if elected. Form FSA-669A and other valuable information about the FSA county committee elections is available at your local FSA office and also online. All nomination forms for the 2013 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by close of business on August 1, 2013.
Following the nomination process, FSA will mail ballots to producers beginning November 4, 2013. The completed ballots are due back to the local county office via mail or in person by December 2, 2013. Newly-elected committee members and alternates take office January 1, 2014. To learn more about the FSA County Committee elections and other programs administered by FSA, contact your local county office or visit the website.