Farmers and ranchers still have a chance to make a difference in how Farm Service Agency (FSA) Programs are administered, announced Pamela Poole, county executive director for the local USDA Farm Service Agency. The deadline for eligible voters to return FSA County Committee election ballots to their local FSA offices is Dec. 7.
“The FSA county committee system allows agricultural producers and farmers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs,” Poole said. “I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and vote in this year’s elections.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FSA County Committee elections began Nov. 6, as ballots were mailed to all known eligible voters. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate names during the nomination period held last summer.
Eligible voters who have not received ballots in the mail can obtain ballots at their local USDA Service Center. The last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers is Dec. 7. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 7. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2010.
Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of allotments and yields, producer appeals, employing FSA county executive directors and other local issues. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
Candidates for the North Effingham FSA County Committee election in Effingham County:
• Michael Morgan of Clyo — Morgan operates Mt. Pleasant Farms, producing peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, sod and cattle. He and his wife Cindy have two daughters.
• Margie Sullivan of Springfield — Sullivan and her husband Marion produce hay and cattle.
Anyone who participates or cooperates in a local FSA program, is of legal voting age and meets eligible voter criteria may vote. This includes all agricultural land owners, farm operators and agricultural producers. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote.
Close to 8,000 FSA county committee members meet monthly at more than 2,300 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to five members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election annually.
For more information about FSA county committees and FSA programs, visit: http://www.fsa.usda.gov, or visit the Effingham-Bryan-Chatham FSA Service Center, 203 S Laurel St., Suite 206, Springfield, GA 31329.