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YOU HAVE A VOICE: Farmers serving on FSA county committees help make USDA farm program decisions that apply to their communities.

Farmers urged to vote in FSA elections

FSA county committee elections have begun in Iowa; producers are receiving ballots this week.

Bob Wegand, Iowa Farm Service Agency acting state executive director, is urging eligible farmers to vote in FSA county committee elections. USDA began mailing ballots to eligible farmers on Nov. 6 for the 2017 FSA county committee elections. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4 to ensure that their vote is counted.

“County committee members represent the farmers and ranchers in our Iowa communities,” says Wegand. “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.”

Help FSA make decisions on farm programs
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.

Wegand says 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 must be returned no later than Dec. 4
Farmers and ranchers began receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 6. 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 fsa.usda.gov/elections. You may also contact your local USDA Service Center or FSA office. Visit offices.usda.gov to find an FSA office near you.

Iowa counties eligible for drought assistance
In other FSA news, USDA on Nov. 1 designated four more counties in Iowa as Primary Natural Disaster Areas with assistance to producers in Missouri, too.

USDA has designated Davis, Henry, Keokuk and Van Buren counties in southern Iowa as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought.

Farmers in the following counties in Iowa also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. The counties are Appanoose, Jefferson, Mahaska, Wapello, Des Moines, Lee, Monroe, Washington, Iowa, Louisa, Poweshiek. Farmers in Clark, Schuyler and Scotland counties in Missouri also qualify for FSA natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

Other counties in Iowa eligible
All counties listed here were designated natural disaster areas on Oct. 4, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for FSA’s emergency (EM) loans provided eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Source: USDA/Farm Service Agency

TAGS: USDA
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