LEWISTON – Jane Harden, county executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Androscoggin/Sagadahoc counties, has announced that the 2006 FSA county committee elections started Nov. 3. Dec. 4 is the deadline for eligible voters to return ballots to their local offices.

“The FSA county committee system is unique among government agencies, because it allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs,” said Harden. “I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year’s elections.”

Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of allotments and yields, producer appeals, employing FSA county executive directors and other local issues. Committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in agency programs. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote. Agricultural producers in each country submitted candidate names during the nomination period held last summer.

Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can obtain ballots at their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 4 is the last day to submit ballots in person. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2007.

For more information about county committees and agency programs, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov.


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