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Farm Service Agency county committee elections under way

November 22, 2012

Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia reminds farmers that the County Committee elections began Nov. 5 with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters.

The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 3.

Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1.

“The role and input of our county committee members is more vital than ever,”  Garcia said. “New county committee members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of disaster and conservation programs.

With better participation in recent years, we also have seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates.”

Eligible voters who did not receive ballots can obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 3, is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers.

Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 3.

In Washington County, this year’s election is being held in Local Administrative Area No. 3, which is the area of the county west of Interstate 81.

There are two local farmers on the ballot and eligible voters in that area can also write in another eligible voter from that area.

Please check with the office at 1260 Maryland Ave., Suite 107, if you need eligible voter information or a ballot.

Ballot counting is open to the public and will be held at the FSA office on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

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 also might be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended Aug. 1.

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.

Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,700 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members who are elected by eligible producers.

More information on county committees, such as the new 2012 fact sheet and brochures, can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA service center.

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