The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency is looking for candidates for an upcoming grower-elected county committee election. FSA offices throughout the state will accept nominations through August 1, 2013. "This is a unique opportunity - to have direct influence on the delivery of federal farm programs," said Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Judy Olson. "FSA county committees make decisions which impact program payments. They are responsible for hiring FSA managers at the county level and are the place that producers can appeal most agency determinations."
FSA encourages all interested agricultural producers, including women and minority growers, to seek nomination. Eligible candidates must participate or cooperate in any Farm Service Agency program and be of legal voting age. Olson explained that even if farmers and ranchers are not currently participating in FSA programs, they are considered eligible to vote under the cooperation criteria if they have farm records on file with the agency. Each county committee draws its members from local administrative areas.
Nominated by local farmers and ranchers, candidates must live in the county's local administrative area they will represent and must be eligible to vote in the county election. Members serve on staggered three-year terms so that one-third of the seats are up for re-election each year.
Persons interested in nominating a candidate can contact their local FSA office or check the Farm Service Agency website www.fsa.usda.gov/wa to find out which local administrative areas are up for election. Elected county committee members receive an hourly wage for their attendance and representation at county committee meetings. Olson explained that the agency's elections will take place in the fall and newly elected committee members begin their terms January 1, 2014. FSA will send ballots to all eligible voters. Additional information and nomination forms may be requested from any Farm Service Agency office. Nomination forms may also be obtained online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/wa.