USDA Encourages Eligible Native Americans to Nominate Candidates and Vote in Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 –Farm Service Agency (FSA) acting Administrator Bruce Nelson and Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs Janie Hipp are advising all eligible Native American tribal members of their right to participate in the ongoing FSA County Committee nomination and election process.
“FSA and the Office of Tribal Relations are working together to ensure that every eligible producer participates in these elections because FSA county committees are a vital link between the agricultural community and USDA,” said Nelson.
“There’s a growing awareness in Indian country about the importance of having a voice on how decisions and policies are made on FSA programs, such as disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues that affect them,” said Hipp. “Full participation by tribal members in the FSA County Committee process is a significant step in weighing in on the issues that are important to them.”
Those tribal members who are eligible to participate take part in FSA programs, hold agricultural land or meet other eligibility requirements. Nelson and Hipp noted that by nominating eligible candidates by the August 1 deadline, tribal members will have an opportunity to have their opinions and ideas heard on agricultural-related issues that affect them.
Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women may also nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections
Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4. The voted ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 5. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 2, 2012.
NOTE: FSA news releases and media advisories are available on the Web at http://www.fsa.usda.gov