If you haven't received a ballot in the mail yet from your local Farm Service Agency, it should arrive soon. It's your chance to participate in elections for county FSA committees. Through the county FSA committees, local farmers and producers have a chance to be in tune with FSA policies, and offer insight to FSA employees.
The FSA Administrator within USDA announced the opening of voting last week. Juan M. Garcia says the role of the county committee is vital now because there will be choices to make about funding and operation of the government. This comes after FSA employees were shut out of their offices for more than two weeks during the limited government shutdown over the federal budget battle in October.
Garcia says new county committee members have taken office in many locations over the past few years. He sees that as a positive.
"New county committee members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of disaster and conservation programs," he says. 'With better participation in recent years, we have also seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates, helping to better represent the richness of America."
You are eligible to vote in the county committee election if you participate or cooperate in an FSA program. Even if you are not of legal voting age but do the farming of an entire farm, you may also be eligible to vote. The candidates were selected earlier this year through nominations submitted by producers.
If you don't receive a ballot by the end of this week, you're urged to obtain one from your local FSA office. The ballot must be returned to the office by Dec. 2. It can also be mailed back, with a postmark no later than Dec. 2.
New committee members elected in the process will take office on Jan. 1.