FSA committee election under way in county

Ballots have been mailed to eligible voters for the 2011 Marion County FSA Committee election.

Producers in the county townships of Lehigh, Risley, Menno, Liberty, East Branch and West Branch received ballots with instructions for the election of one candidate to serve as a county committee member for a three-year term beginning in January 2012.

The county committee system allows grass-roots level producers to make important and effective decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs.

Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make determinations on a variety of issues that include benefit payments, establishment of acreage bases and hearing producer appeals.

Farm Service Agency committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out National USDA laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers in the targeted township administrative areas must participate in FSA programs.

Those who do not receive ballots, but feel they should have, may obtain ballots at their local county USDA Service Center.

Voters are cautioned that after their vote has been cast, they must sign the return ballot envelope in the designated area in order for their vote to be considered valid.

Dec. 5 is the final day for voters to submit cast ballots in person to USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 5 as well.

Voting by power of attorney or proxy is not authorized.

The current county committee shall tabulate all ballots at 10 a.m. Dec. 12 in the Marion County USDA Service Center at 301 Eisenhower Drive, Marion. Once confirmed, results will be posted. This activity is open for public attendance.

There are nearly 8,000 FSA county committee members representing more than 2,300 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee is made up of from three to five members.

Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.

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