USDA will be mailing ballots for the 2014 Farm Service Agency County Committee elections starting Nov. 3, FSA Administrator Val Dolcini said Friday.
Ballots will go to eligible producers across the country. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec.1 for the vote to be counted. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2015.
Dolcini said the committee elections are especially important as 2014 Farm Bill implementation plans are continued.
"New members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of FSA programs. We have seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates willing to serve on county committees, helping to better represent the diversity of American agriculture," Dolcini said.
FSA County Committee members help deliver FSA programs locally and apply their knowledge to make decisions on commodity support programs, conservation programs; indemnity and disaster programs; emergency programs and eligibility, USDA said.
County committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members elected by eligible producers. Members serve 3-year terms of office. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year.
To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers 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 may also be eligible to vote.
Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended Aug. 1.
Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week may pick one up at their local USDA Service Center or FSA office.
Find more information on county committees on the FSA website.