Farmers and ranchers 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. 3.
USDA’s FSA County Committee elections began Nov. 5, which is the day that ballots were mailed to all known eligible voters. Agricultural producers who live and farm in northern Effingham County, designated as Local Administrative Area (LAA) number 3, were invited to submit candidate names during the nomination period held April through July.
To hold office as a county committee member, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election, and reside in the LAA in which the person is a candidate. The candidate for LAA number 3, the Northern part of Effingham County is Michael Morgan.
The FSA county committee system allows agricultural producers and farmers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs. FSA county committees make decisions on commodity price support loans, conservation programs, disaster programs, producer appeals, and other significant agricultural issues. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
The Farm Service Agency encourages all eligible farmers to participate in the county committee election process to ensure it more accurately represents local communities. African-Americans, Hispanics, women, and other minority farmers are especially encouraged to get involved and vote in USDA’s Farm Service Agency elections.
Eligible voters in northern Effingham County, LAA number 3, who do not receive ballots in the mail, can obtain ballots at their local USDA FSA Office. The Effingham-Bryan-Chatham County USDA FSA Office is in Springfield at 203 S Laurel St., Room 206. he last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA FSA Offices is Dec. 3.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 3. Newly-elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2013, serving a three-year term.
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 within Effingham County LAA number 3. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote.
FSA county committee members meet regularly at 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 County USDA FSA Office, 203 S Laurel Street, Suite 206, Springfield, GA 31329.