Now is the time to nominate someone to be a member of your county's Farm Service Agency producer's committee. Kenneth Culp, executive director for FSA in Indiana, officially announced the call for nominations for elections last week. His counterparts across the country also announced an open period for nominations at the same time.
Culp formerly served on the FSA state committee. It is made up of producers, and handles many issues related to the program, including appeals, that come to the state level. County committees perform the same function, only at the local level. If there is leeway in a program and local farmers can decide how to handle a certain issue, it's usually the county committee that makes the decision.
Nominations continue through August 1. The elections will take place later this year, sometime during the fall. Anyone who participates in an FSA program and is eligible to vote in a county committee election, and reside in the local administrative area where the person will be a candidate.
In addition to these requirements, certain people are automatically ineligible from being nominated to run for a county committee position. They include anyone who has previously been removed or disqualified from a county committee position by FSA, including those removed who were alternates or employees. Also, anyone who has been removed from any public office or convicted of fraud, larceny, embezzlement or any other felony, or dishonorably discharged from the armed services shall not be eligible to be a candidate for election.
You may nominate yourself if you so desire. Organizations representing minorities and women can also nominate candidates.
Nationwide, there are more than 7,800 farmers serving on county committees, Culp reports. Committee size varies from three to five members. In Indiana, county committees are typically three members, with five members serving on the state FSA committee. Newly elected committee members after the election process concludes later this fall will take office beginning January 1, '08.
To nominate someone or learn more, inquire at your county FSA office. Or you can do the process online by starting at: www.fsa.usda.gov. Click on News & Events, then County Committee Elections. Nomination forms must be received by the end of the business day on August 1, or else postmarked by that date.