USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced that the FSA County Committee Elections begin today, Dec. 20, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Jan. 17, 2014. Producers have been instructed to destroy the FSA County Committee Election ballots (FSA-669’s) mailed on Nov. 4. The new ballots mailed to producers will have the word “corrected” printed on the outside of the mailing, the ballot itself, and the return envelope. Producers must complete and return the corrected FSA-669 to have their vote counted.
Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the coming week can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. The last day for voters to submit corrected ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers is Jan. 17, 2014. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Jan. 17. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Feb. 18, 2014.
County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended on Aug. 1.
Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.