The election of county Farm Service Agency committees is underway nationally, including in Indiana. Donna Ferguson of the Indiana Farm Service Agency reports that ballots were mailed to eligible producers recently. If you don't have a ballot, visit your local FSA office and request one.
About 7,700 county committee members serve FSA nationwide. County committees don't accept or deny specific programs to producers, but provide valuable guidance to local FSA officials and help make certain decisions about local operating policies.
Nominations were accepted earlier in the year. You must deliver your ballot to your local FSA office by Dec.3 to have it counted, or else mail it so that it is postmarked Dec. 3 for your ballot to count in the election.
The number of county committee members on a county committee can vary. In many Indiana counties, there are three county committee members. In some counties across the country, there are up to 11 members.
Anyone who is an eligible producer participating in an FSA program is entitled to cast a ballot and vote. In addition, a person not of voting age but who is in control of an entire farm operation may be eligible to vote.
Successful candidates who are elected through the ballot process don't have a long wait to take office. Their three-year term will begin on Jan. 1, 2013.
One of the decisions many county committees for FSA often make in Indiana relates to conservation programs. They may be involved in deciding which practices are eligible for cost-share in their county and at what rate of reimbursement. They can also have input in situations where there are emergency or disaster decisions that must be made. Most FSA committees work closely with the county executive director of the Farm Service Agency during the year.