The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the nomination period for farmers and ranchers to serve on local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees began Wednesday, June 15.
The County Committee elections in Patrick County will be held in Local Administrative Area (LAA) #1, which includes the areas west of Salem Hwy. (Road #8) including the communities of Dry Pond, Claudville, Ararat, Willis Gap and part of Stuart.
“Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice. Their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers across the spectrum of American agriculture, to get involved in this year’s elections. We have seen an increase in the number of qualified nominees, especially among women and minorities, and I hope that trend continues.”
To be eligible to serve on a FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an FSA administered program, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where they are nominated.
Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the Patrick County USDA Service Center by close of business on August 1.
FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning November 7. Ballots must be returned to the local county office via mail or in person by December 5. Newly-elected committee members and alternates will take office on January 1, 2017.
Nationwide, there are approximately 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. These individuals make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, and other agricultural issues. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers, and members serve three-year terms.
To learn more about county committees, contact the Patrick FSA county office at (276) 694-3121, extension 2 or visit http://offices.usda.gov to find a county office near you.