OXFORD – Laura Rand, county executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency, announces elections for the agency’s county committees are under way.

“FSA County Committee members make important decisions on how federal farm programs fit the needs of Oxford County produces,” said Rand. “So it is vital that all eligible farmers and ranchers vote in this year’s election to ensure that these committees represent the interests of all producers in a community.”

Ballots must be returned to agency offices or post-marked by Dec. 6. All ballots will be counted publicly by Dec. 13. The last day to appeal an election is Dec. 28. Newly elected committee members and alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2005.

Voting ballots have been mailed to eligible producers. Producers who have not received ballots can obtain ballots at their local offices.

Committees make decisions on commodity price support loans and payments; establishment of allotments and yields; conservation programs; incentive; indemnity and disaster payments for some commodities; and other farm disaster assistance. The committee system gives local farmers and ranchers a say in how farm programs are administered at the grass-roots level.

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