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FSA county committee election time begins Friday

November 01, 2005

The election period for Farm Service Agency county committees begins Friday, Nov. 4, and is open through Dec. 5, Colleen Cashell, executive director for USDA's agency in Washington County said Monday.

This year's election is being held for Local Administrative Area 2, which is the area east of Interstate 81 and north of Md. 68.

The candidates nominated for this year's election are Priscilla Harsh and Betsy Herbst.

Harsh is the incumbent and is an orchardist in Smithsburg area. Herbst is a dairy farmer from the Ringgold area.

Also, eligible voters may write in a candidate.

The candidate receiving the most votes serves a three-year term as the elected county committee member. The person receiving the second most votes serves a three-year term as the first alternate. The candidate receiving the third most votes serves as second alternate for three years.

"County committees help administer federal farm programs at the local level," Cashell said. "It is vital that FSA committees represent a cross-section of producers in each community.

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"I encourage all eligible producers, especially minorities and women, to make a difference by voting in this year's FSA county committee elections."

The county committees help ensure FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers. Committees provide input on commodity price support loans and payments, conservation programs, disaster payments for some commodities and other farm disaster assistance.

Most committees consist of three to five members and may have one or more appointed advisors to further represent the interests of minority and women farmers and ranchers.

Agricultural producers, who participate or cooperate in any FSA program and are of legal voting age, can vote. Anyone supervising and conducting the farming operations on an entire farm, but not of legal voting age, can also vote.

Ballots will be mailed to eligible farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers on Friday. Eligible producers should contact the Washington County FSA offices if they do not receive a ballot.

All ballots must be returned to the voter's FSA office or be post-marked by Dec. 5.

Approximately a third of the nearly 8,000 committee seats nationwide are up for election each year. Newly-elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1.




Producers can learn more about FSA county committees by contacting a local FSA office or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/

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