The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is now accepting nominations for county committee members. Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for members. LAAs are elective areas for FSA committees in a single county or multi-county jurisdiction. This may include LAAs that are focused on an urban or suburban area.
County committee members make important decisions about how Federal farm programs are administered locally. All nomination forms for the 2022 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2022.
“It is a priority for USDA to integrate equity into its decision-making and policymaking, and that starts with our local FSA county committees,” said Jim Barber, State Executive Director for FSA in New York. “We need enthusiastic, diverse leaders to serve other agricultural producers on these committees as we work to build equitable systems and programming inclusive of all employees and all of our customers. I ask that you consider making a difference in your community by nominating yourself, or another agricultural producer, to serve on your local FSA county committee.”
Barber said agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program and reside in the LAA that is up for election this year, may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation to FSA, even if they have not applied or received program benefits. Individuals may nominate themselves or others and qualifying organizations may also nominate candidates. USDA encourages minority producers, women, and beginning farmers or ranchers to nominate, vote and hold office.
Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serve on FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Producers serving on FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency. Committee members are vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.
Urban and Suburban County Committees
The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to form urban county committees as well as make other advancements related to urban agriculture, including the establishment of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. FSA established county committees specifically focused on urban agriculture. The urban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural production practices. Additionally, the new county committees may address areas such as food access, community engagement, support of local activities to promote and encourage community compost and food waste reduction.
Urban committee members are nominated and elected to serve by local urban producers in the same jurisdiction. Urban county committee members will provide outreach to ensure urban producers understand USDA programs and serve as the voice of other urban producers and assist in program implementation that support the needs of the growing urban community.
The following urban and suburban county committees will hold elections this year Phoenix, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Albuquerque, N.M., Cleveland, Portland, Ore., Philadelphia, Dallas and Richmond, Va.
USDA recently announced six new urban county committees in Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Oakland. Elections will be held for these locations at a later date.
Learn more online here.