Ballots for this year?s Marion County Farm Service Agency Committee election have been mailed to eligible voters.
Producers in the county townships of Catlin, Centre, Doyle, Fairplay, Gale, Grant, Milton, Peabody, Summit and Wilson received election ballots and instructions for the selection of one candidate to serve as a county committee member for a three-year term beginning January 2010.
The county committee system allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs.
Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of acreage allotments and yields, hearing producer appeals and employing county executive directors.
FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out U.S. Department of Agriculture laws.
To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in FSA programs. Eligible voters who did not receive ballots, but feel they should have, may obtain ballots at the Marion County USDA Service Center, 301 Eisenhower Drive, Marion.
Voters are cautioned that after their vote is cast, they must sign the return ballot envelope in the designated area in order for their ballot to be counted as valid.
Dec. 7 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA service centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 7. Voting by power of attorney or proxy is not allowed.
The current county FSA committee will tabulate all valid ballots at 10 a.m. Dec. 14 in the Marion County USDA Service Center. This activity is open for public attendance and review.
Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.