More than 7,000 elected members serve on Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committees in more than 2,000 USDA Service Centers nationwide. Committee members, consisting of farmers and ranchers, help deliver FSA programs at the local level.
Elections are held each year for one-third of the seats. Each member serves a three-year term and the terms are staggered so as not to have a brand new committee each year.
In St. Martin Parish, the election will be held in local administrative area (LAA)-3, which is the area of the parish north of I-10.
One of the first and very important phases of the election process is the nomination of candidates. Nomination forms will be accepted between June 15 and Aug. 1.
Persons may nominate themselves or someone else. Basically, a person of legal voting age, who lives in the LAA in which the election is being held and participates or cooperates in a program administered by FSA, is eligible to be a candidate.
Nomination forms are available from FSA and must be completed, signed by the person being nominated, and returned to FSA or postmarked no later than Aug. 1.
Ballots will be mailed to all known eligible voters in November. Voted ballots must be returned to local FSA Offices by no later than Dec. 1.
In regards to the election and nomination of candidates, an important meeting will be held for Lafayette and St. Martin producers at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 3. This meeting will be held at the Agriculture Building, located at 114 Courthouse St. in Breaux Bridge.
The upcoming election of FSA County Committee members will be covered with special emphasis on the nominating procedure. Nomination forms will be available at the meeting or can be obtained from any local FSA Office.
Committee members are a critical component of the operations of FSA.
They provide local input on commodity price support loans and payments; conservation programs; incentive, indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities and emergency programs.
USDA-FSA is committed to increasing the participation of all farmers and ranchers in the election process, including nominations of person to be on the ballot, with special emphasis on socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Socially disadvantaged farmers include African Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, other minorities and women.
Discussion of other current FSA programs will also be held at the meeting. We invite and encourage all interested producers to come and get up to date information about FSA nominations, election and programs.