Garfield County Farm Service Agency has started the process for farmers and ranchers to elect a person to serve a three-year term on the local Farm Service Agency County Committee. USDA relies on local leadership of farmer and ranchers who are elected to Farm Service Agency's county committee system, said Garfield County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Gary Brickman. Farm Service Agency draws from its knowledge to make national farm programs work at the local level.

Farm Service Agency County Committee is the most effective voice for American Agriculture, Brickman said, and should be made up of a diverse group of farmers and ranchers that fairly represent the agricultural producers in the county.

"Diversity within the county committee, brings different skills, understanding and perspectives to the work of the county committee, which in turn, better serves the local agricultural producers," Brickman said.

Committees set rental rates for the Conservation Reserve Program and help sustain the local farming community by determining eligibility for loans for FSA programs, he said. Committees approve crop loans by reviewing individual cases.

Committees supervise the operations of the county office, including employment of the county executive director. During a disaster, the local committee is responsible for administrating Farm Service Agency's emergency programs. When there's a question about the fairness of the application of Farm Service Agency programs, it's the county committee that helps resolve the issues, Brickman said.

"Committees serve a key role in USDA's check and balance system," he said.

Garfield County Farm Service Agency is accepting nominations for the county committee election for Local Administrative Area (LAA) 2 (the central one-third of Garfield County, east of U.S. 81 to a line that runs north and south from Hunter to Douglas).

An individual who is an owner, operator, tenant or sharecropper of a farm or ranch in the LAA may place his or her own name or any other eligible voter on the slate of nominees. Nominations must be received in the County FSA office by close of business Aug. 1.

For more information about the committee and the election process, contact the local Farm Service Agency office at 1216 W. Willow, Suite C.

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