Farmers mailed ballots for FSA's county committee elections

PAXTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture began mailing ballots Monday, Nov. 6, to farmers and ranchers who are eligible to cast ballots in the 2017 Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections.

Producers must return their ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4 to ensure their vote is counted.

In Ford County, there will be two separate elections, according to the FSA office located at 1380 W. Ottawa Road in Paxton.

In Local Administrative Area 1 — which includes the townships of Rogers, Mona, Pella and Brenton — two candidates are running for one available three-year term: Tyler Loschen of Cabery and Beth Thorndyke of Piper City.

In Local Administrative Area 3 — which includes the townships of Sullivant, Peach Orchard, Drummer and Dix — four candidates are running for one available two-year unexpired term: Greg Kerber of Gibson City, Zachary Bunting of Gibson City, Benjamin Wurmnest of Sibley and Ryan Thorp of Gibson City.

Nearly 7,700 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year.

County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help the FSA make decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and eligibility.

“County committee members represent the farmers and ranchers in our Illinois communities,” said Illinois FSA acting state executive director Rick Graden. “Producers elected to these committees have always played a vital role in local agricultural decisions. It is a valued partnership that helps us better understand the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve.”

Graden said producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee elections. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm — but are not of legal voting age — also may be eligible to vote.

Farmers and ranchers were to begin receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 6. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. Voters who did not receive a ballot can pick up one at their local FSA office. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or contact a local USDA Service Center of FSA office. To find an FSA office near you, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

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