USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Jonathan Coppess announced that nominations for individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers are being accepted through Oct. 5, 2009.
"As we look to build a new generation of farmers and ranchers throughout the country, this committee will work to update or develop policies and programs that will hopefully make it easier for beginning producers to enter the agricultural industry," said Coppess. "This committee will help strengthen our nation's food supply for the coming decades, and I urge qualified individuals to apply."
To qualify, individuals must belong to or participate in any of the following groups, programs, or agencies: USDA's Farm Service Agency; state beginning farmer programs; commercial lenders; private nonprofit organizations currently participating in a beginning farmer or rancher program; the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service; community colleges or other educational institutions with demonstrated experience in training beginning farmers or ranchers; and other entities or persons providing lending or technical assistance to qualified beginning farmers or ranchers. Farmers and ranchers are also eligible for nomination.
Form AD-755, "Advisory Committee Membership Background Information," must be completed for those interested in serving on the Committee. Submission of this form constitutes a nomination, and eligible persons may nominate themselves. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted, but should not be solicited or obtained from USDA officials employed in Washington, D.C. The form is available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/ad755.pdf.
The Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992 requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Committee. The 20-member Committee advises the Secretary on ways to support federal and state programs that administer joint financing to beginning farmers and ranchers and maximize new opportunities created through those programs.
Seven of the Committee members were replaced when the Committee charter was last renewed on March 28, 2008. Approximately one-third of the 20 existing members will be replaced when the charter is renewed. The agency is now accepting nominations of individuals to serve for a two-year term on the Committee. Reappointments are made to assure effectiveness and continuity of operations. No member, other than a federal employee, can serve for more than six consecutive years. Members are not paid; however, they are reimbursed for travel expenses related to attending meetings, which are generally held annually. A notice requesting nominations was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 3, 2009.
For those without Internet access who want a copy of the nomination form or more information, please contact Mark Falcone, Designated Federal Official for the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, at (202) 720-1632 or e-mail at [email protected]. Mr. Falcone's address is: USDA-FSA, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Stop 0522, Washington, D.C., 20250-0522; Fax is (202) 690-1117.