John Barga, executive director of the Harford County Farm Service Agency, reminds producers the nomination period for the agency's county committee election opened June 15.

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. 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.

"I urge all farmers and ranchers to participate in this year's county committee elections by nominating candidates by the Aug. 1 deadline," Barga said in a press release. "County committees are a vital link between the farm community and theU.S. Department of Agricultureand provide a voice to landowners, farmers and ranchers so that they have an opportunity for their opinions and ideas to be heard. With better participation in recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates. I hope that trend continues."

To be eligible to serve on an Farm Service Agency county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by agency, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.


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Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may 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. Nomination forms for the 2012 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1. Elections will take place this fall.