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Voting begins for 2019 FSA County Committee elections

By Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began mailing ballots on Monday, Nov. 4 to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections, according to Donna J. Ferguson, public affairs and outreach coordinator for the USDA’s Indiana FSA.

To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by Monday, Dec. 2.

Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2020.

“County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs and emergency programs and eligibility,” stated Ferguson. “Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Producers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.”

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Eric Armentrout, Wabash County FSA executive director, said Randy Renbarger was the only one on the ballot locally.

Armentrout said Wabash County has three elected committee members and one which is appointed.

“The county is broken up into three districts,” he said. “Each year one of the districts elects a representative to represent them for three years. This time it’s Randy’s turn. Randy has served one three-year term already. He’s running for re-election for one three-year term.”

Armentrout said the deadline to submit candidacy was Aug. 1.

“Most years they are (contested,)” he said. “You have to have a farming operation in that part of the county. You can be nominated by another individual or you can simply fill out a nominating application yourself.”

Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail can pick one up at their local FSA county office. Visit fsa.usda.gov/elections for more information.