FSA county committee elections are under way

Farmers, ranchers have voice in local program decisions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mailed ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers for the 2017 FSA County Committee elections on Nov. 6. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4 to ensure their vote is counted.

“County committee members represent the farmers and ranchers in our Wisconsin communities,” said Russell Raeder, Wisconsin Farm Service Agency acting executive director. “Producers elected to these committees have always played a vital role in local agricultural decisions. It is a valued partnership that helps us better understand the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve.”

Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs; conservation programs; indemnity and disaster programs; emergency programs and eligibility.

Raeder said producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. Voters who did not receive a ballot can pick one up at their local FSA office. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1.

For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.