INDIANAPOLIS -- With the national election than one week behind U.S. citizens, it is time again for another very important election for American agriculture.
USDA Farm Service Agency in Indiana Executive Director Julia A. Wickard recently announced the 2010 FSA County Committee elections have begun, with USDA mailing ballots to eligible voters.
The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 6, 2010.
County Committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Farmers elected to County Committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support loans and payment, conservation programs, incentive indemnity and disaster payments for some commodities, emergency programs and payment eligibility.
"County Committees are the eyes and ears of USDA at the local level. They are vital to our USDA FSA structure," Wickard said.
To be an eligible voter, farmers 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. 2, 2010.
Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week may obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center.
Dec. 6, 2010, in the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers.
Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 6.
Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2010. Approximately one-third of County Committee seats are up for election each year.
More information on County Committees, such as the new 2010 fact sheet and brochures, may be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections, or at a local USDA Center.