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Southampton farmers urged to become voice of others in county

COURTLAND

USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Southampton County will start taking nominations for county committee members on Friday, June 14. According to USDA information provided by the local FSA, farmers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

“It’s very important that we have participating and active farmers on our board. They are the voice for the other counterparts,” said Chiquita McDowell, executive director for the Southampton County bureau.

For this county, she added, nominations are needed for Local Administrative Area 1, which includes Berlin, Ivor, Jerusalem (Courtland) and Franklin. There are two other such areas in Southampton, and elections for all areas alternate annually. Next year there will be elections for LAA 2. Each representative serves a three-year term, and generally meets about once a month.

McDowell also stressed the need for having balanced representation. This can include a person who is is a minority, or a female or a white male. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

“I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce stated in the provided information. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.

“Committees make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital on how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.”

In the country, more than 7,700 members of the agricultural community serve on FSA county committees.

Producers should visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. This site is at 22313 Main St., Courtland. For details, call 653-2532, ext. 2.

A producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form.

The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Thursday, Aug. 1.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters starting on Monday, Nov. 4.