July 17, 2008

Farm Service Agency County Committee Election

The US Department of Agriculture has a local connection with our farmers Ė the Farm Service Agency committee system. County Committees stand as a treatment to USDA-FSAís commitment to empowering locally led decision-makers. Gary Kittle, executive director for the Scotland County FSA, says the County Committee system has been around since the 1930ís and represents grassroots democracy at its best. Since committee members are elected by their peers, and are themselves active farmers, they understand the issues that farmers and businesses are facing in their community.

Whether it is prioritizing conservation projects, determining eligibility for loan programs, or administering commodity and emergency programs, the Direct County-cyclical Program or Disaster Programs, USDA-FSA understands that some of the best decisions that are made about agriculture are made by farmers themselves. County Committees work with other groups on behalf of the Department to make a difference in their communities on conservation, marketing, outreach projects and other important agricultural issues in the farming community.

FSA is proud of the dedication of County Committee members in helping the department implement national agricultural policy. It is through the efforts of committee members that FSA is able to offer tailored assistance to our rural community and farmers. Scotland County is divided into three local administrative areas, each of which is represented by a seat on the committee. Committee members serve three-year terms, and the terms are staggered so each year local producers in one of the three areas vote to fill at least one vacancy.

In Scotland County the Farm Agency is actively seeking minority, female, and socially disadvantaged producers from under-served and under-represented groups for nomination and participation in the 2008 County Committee elections, as well as producers who are representative of agriculture producers in the county. The Farm Service Agency is committed to provide diversity on County Committees. Like all elections, this is an opportunity for all eligible voters to participate in an important process. This year, the townships of Union, Miller, and Vest will be participating in the FSA election to elect a County Committee person. James Dale Baker is presently the representative from this area. Close of business August 1, 2008 is the final date to have nominating forms returned to the County FSA office. If you wish to nominate someone, or yourself, for the County Committee, please pick up the nomination form FSA-669A at the FSA office or obtain online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov; click on news & events, then County Committee Elections. Ballots will be mailed about November 3, 2008. Voters will have until December 1, 2008 to return their ballots to the county FSA office.

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