INDIANAPOLIS -- Julia A. Wickard, executive director for the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency in Indiana, announced Thursday that the 2010 FSA County Committee elections will begin today with USDA mailing ballots to eligible voters.
The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 6, 2010.
County Committee members provide a link between the agricultural community and the Department of Agriculture. 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 payments; 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 on Aug. 2, 2010.
Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 6, 2010, is 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, 2011. 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, can be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.
The Greencastle Service Center is located at 1007 Mill Pond Lane, Suite C and can be reached at 653-5716 ext. 3.