Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers can now nominate eligible candidates to serve on the Farm Service Agency County Committee. While the nomination period runs from June 15 through Aug. 2, nominations can be taken now.

Each year an election is held in an LAA (local administrative area) to replace the committee member whose 3-year term is expiring. In Ashley County, LAA-3 is open for nominations and is currently represented by James W. (Jimbo) Johnson.

LAA-3 is defined as that part of the south central and eastern portion of the county lying south of US Highway 82. 

To hold office as a county committee member, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election, and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

Individuals may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Also, organizations representing minorities and women may nominate candidates. 

All nominees must sign nomination form FSA-669A, which includes a statement that the nominee agrees to serve if elected. COC election materials may be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.  

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. 

Penni Douglas, county executive director of the Ashley County Farm Service Agency, explained that local administrative area boundaries, or LAA’s, are elective areas for Farm Service Agency committees in a county or jurisdiction and Ashley County has three LAA’s.

LAA-1 is defined as the western portion of the county consisting of the townships of White, Longview, Millcreek, Egypt, and Marie Saline, plus portions of Elon.

LAA-2 is defined as the north central and north eastern portion of the county consisting of the townships of Bearhouse, Bayou, Union, Banner, Lakeside and Portland, plus the portions of Carter and Prairie lying north of Highway 82.

LAA-3 is defined as that part of the south central and eastern portion of the county lying south of US Highway 82. The communities consist of Wilmot, Parkdale, Beech Creek, Extra plus the portions of Carter and Prairie lying south of US Highway 82 and that part of Elon lying east of a boundary line beginning two miles east of the intersection of US Highway 425 and the boundary between Carter and Elon townships and running due south to the county line.

A detailed map is available in the FSA Office. Public comments are invited.

Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 1. The final day to return voted ballots to the local USDA Service Center is Dec. 6. Newly elected county committee members take office Jan. 1, 2022.

For more information visit the local USDA Service Center at 870-853-9881.