USDA encourages community participation

Published 1:21 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages all farmers, ranchers, and FSA program participants to take part in the County Committee election nomination process which opens June 15.

FSA’s county committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and allow grassroots input and local administration of federal farm programs. Committee are comprised of locally elected agricultural producers responsible for the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties. Committee members are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture, and they become part of a local decision making and farm program delivery process.

A county committee is composed of three to 11 elected members from local administrative areas. Each member serves a three-year term. One-third of the seats on these committees are open for election each year. County committees may have one or more appointed advisors to further represent the local interests of underserved farmers and ranchers. Underserved producers are beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers and land owners and/or operators who have limited resources. Other minority groups including Native American and Alaska Natives; persons under the poverty level, and persons that have disabilities are also considered underserved.

All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA service center by Aug. 1. For more information on FSA county committee elections and appointments, refer to the FSA fact sheet: Eligibility to Vote and Hold Office as a COC Member available online at:

There will be two workshops at the Columbia USDA Service Center t0 explain the county committee nomination process, eligibility to serve on the committee and an overview of what the nominee will do once elected. The first workshop will be held on June 20 and second workshop on July 18. Both meetings will start at 8:30 am. If you cannot make it to the Columbia workshops, two more are planned at the Roper office on June 21 and July 19, both at 8:30 am. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call the Service Center at 252-791-0108 or 252-796-3701 by June 19th.