Monday, November 05, 2012
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Farm Service Agency urges farmers and ranchers to vote in county committee elections beginning today

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[November 05, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced that the 2012 FSA county committee elections will begin Monday with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 3.

"The role and input of our county committee members is more vital than ever," said Garcia. "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 do not receive ballots in the coming week can obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 3 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to their local center. Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 3. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1.

To be an eligible voter in a county committee election, a farmer or rancher 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 may be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended Aug. 1.

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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, about 7,700 farmers and ranchers are serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members elected by eligible producers.

More information on county committees, such as the new 2012 fact sheet and brochures, is available on the FSA website at or at a local USDA Service Center.

[Text from file received from Illinois Farm Service Agency]

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