Ag agency accepting committee nominations for farmers, ranchers

The US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency is accepting nominations for county committee members.

Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas for members. LAAs are elective areas for FSA committees in a single county or multi-county jurisdiction. This may include LAAs that are focused on an urban or suburban area, according to a news release from the Bangor-based Field Service Agency.

County committee members make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. All nominations forms for the 2022 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Monday, Aug. 1.

“It is a priority for the USDA to integrate equity into its decision-making and policymaking, and that starts with our local FSA county committees,” said Sherry Hamel, state executive director for FSA in Maine. “We need enthusiastic, diverse leaders to serve other agricultural producers on these committees as we work to build equitable systems and programming inclusive of all employees and all of our customers.”

“Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program and reside in the LAA that is up for election this year, may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee,” said Hamel.

A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation to FSA, even if they have not applied or received program benefits. Individuals may nominate themselves or others and qualifying organizations may also nominate candidates. USDA encourages minority producers, women, and beginning farmers or ranchers to nominate, vote and hold office.

Nationwide, more than 7,700 members of the agricultural community serve on the FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Producers serving on FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency. Committee members are vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

Producers should contact their local FSA office to register and find out how to get involved in their county’s election, including if their LAA is up for election this year. To be considered, a producer must be registered and sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 7. Producers can find their local USDA Service Center at farmers.gov/service-locator.

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