The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins on June 15.

“Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice. Their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It is important for county committees to reflect America’s diversity, so I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers, including beginning farmers, to get involved in this year’s elections. We’ve seen an increase in the number of nominations for qualified candidates, especially among women and minorities, and I hope that trend continues.”

To be eligible to serve on a FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where they are nominated.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available here. Nomination forms for the 2015 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on August 3.

FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning November 9. Ballots will be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by December 7. Newly elected committee members and alternates will take office on January 1.