<h1>The US Department of Agriculture announced this week that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency county committee begins Wednesday, June 15.<\/h1>\r\n\u201cCounty committees allow farmers and ranchers to make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve their needs,\u201d said Acting FSA Administrator Chris Beyerhelm. \u201cwe strongly encourage all eligible producers to visit their local FSA office to find out how to get involved in their county\u2019s election. There\u2019s an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers.\u201d\r\n\r\nCounty committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. Committees consist of 3 to 11 members and meet once a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are over 7,700 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees.\r\n\r\nFarmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, and reside in the local administrative area where the election is being held.\r\n\r\nAfter the nomination period, candidates will encourage the eligible producers in their local administrative area to vote. FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 6. Ballots will be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 4. Newly-elected committee members and alternates will take office on Jan. 1, 2018.\r\n\r\nTo become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov\/elections. All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1. Locate your local office at https:\/\/offices.usda.gov and visit to get more information.