USDA Farm Service agency encourages voters to cast ballots in county committee elections

Nov. 8, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.

Elections began Monday for the 2013 U. S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency county committee elections, and agency representatives encourage voters to cast their ballots.

The deadline to return ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 2, according to an agency news release. Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 2.

Eligible voters include farmers and ranchers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program. Those who are not of legal voting age but supervise and conduct 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.

Committee members' roles and input are important, Juan M. Garcia, service agency administrator, said in the release.

"New county committee members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of disaster and conservation programs," he said. "With better participation in recent years, we have also seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates, helping to better represent the richness of American agriculture."

Farmers and ranchers elected to committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs, conservation programs, incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities, emergency programs and eligibility.

Committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

Eligible voters who do not receive mailed ballots within the coming week can obtain them from their local USDA service center. Newly-elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1.

The Victoria County USDA service center sits at 312 S. Main St. For more information, call 361-576-1129.



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