The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency county committees begins Thursday, June 15.

County committees allow farmers and ranchers to make decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve their needs. According to the federal Department of Agriculture, there is an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers.

County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. Committees consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month or as needed to make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.  Members serve three-year terms.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, and reside in the local administrative area where the election is being held.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2017.  More information and a list of local offices may be found at https://offices.usda.gov.