Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that farmer and rancher candidate nominations will begin today, Tuesday, June 15, 2010, for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. The nomination period continues through Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, with the election taking place between Friday, Nov. 5, and the close of business on Monday, Dec. 6.
"I encourage all producers to participate in the nomination of county committee candidates by the Aug. 2 deadline," said Vilsack. "We would like as much participation as possible since county committees provide a vital link and a voice for landowners, farmers and ranchers to have opinions and ideas heard at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With better participation in recent years, we also have seen a trend of increased nominations of minority and women producers that we hope will continue."
To be eligible to serve on a Farm Service Agency county committee a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.
Producers may nominate themselves or others and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. The form and other valuable information about FSA county committee elections are available online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2010 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 2.
FSA county committee members make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other important agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members who are elected by eligible producers.
FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 5. The ballots are due back to the local county office either by mail or in person by Dec. 6. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2011.
FSA news releases and media advisories are available on the Web at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.