Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that agricultural producers throughout the nation can nominate eligible candidates to serve on USDA Farm Service Agency county committees through Aug. 1, 2006 for the county committee elections to be held in the fall.
"Farmers and ranchers have an important opportunity to ensure that their FSA county committees represent them by participating in the county committee election process," says Johanns. "I encourage agricultural producers across the country to nominate eligible candidates, especially minorities and women, to serve on their local county committees and to vote this fall."
Farmers and ranchers who serve on county committees help make decisions necessary to administer federal farm programs offered in their communities. County committees make decisions on agricultural issues such as commodity price support loans and payments, conservation programs, disaster payments and employing county executive directors.
Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in programs administered by FSA and live in the local administrative area conducting an election may be nominated for candidacy for a committee. Farmers and ranchers can obtain a complete list of eligibility requirements by visiting a local USDA Service Center or online at: www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/facts/html/cocelig06.htm.
Individuals may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Additionally, community based organizations representing minorities and women may nominate candidates. To become a nominee, eligible individuals must sign nomination form FSA-669A. The form includes a statement that the nominee agrees to serve if elected.
Farmers and ranchers should keep the following important dates in mind during the 2006 county committee election process:
- The nomination period begins June 15 and August 1 is the deadline to file nomination forms at the local USDA Service Center.
- USDA will mail ballots to eligible voters by November 3. The last day to return voted ballots to the local USDA Service Center is December 4.
- Newly elected county committee members take office Jan. 1, 2007.
For more information about FSA county committees or to obtain a nomination form (FSA-669A), visit a local USDA Service Center or online at: www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections/Default.asp.