OXFORD – Gary Raymond, executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Oxford County, urges farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to vote in agency county committee elections. The deadline is Monday, Dec. 4.

“FSA county committees provide producers with the opportunity to help implement federal farm programs in their communities,” he said. “It is vital that all farmers and ranchers, especially women and minorities, participate in the elections process to ensure the opinions expressed in committee meetings reflect an area’s agricultural sector.”

Producers must return ballots to their local agency office by the close of business on Dec. 4. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2007.

Agency county committees help administer federal farm programs at the local level. Committee members make decisions on conservation programs, commodity price support loans and payments, disaster assistance payments and other agricultural issues.

County committees consist of three to five elected members who serve three-year terms. Committees may also have one or more female or minority advisers to further represent the local interests of women and minority farmers and ranchers. Each year, one-third of all committee members are elected across the country. More than 7,700 county committee members serve in more than 2,300 local FSA offices nationwide.

For more information about FSA county committee elections visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections.

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