OREGON COUNTY -- Dennis Johnson, executive director of Oregon County Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced last week that his office will begin accepting nominations for candidates to run in the upcoming county committee election.
The annual election for the local county committee will take place in November by mail-in ballot. Johnson said this year's election is for the committee member representing local Administration Area 2 which includes Thayer, Big Apple and Highland townships.
Johnson said the county committee gives local producers a say in how federal farm programs are implemented in the county. The committee oversees the work of the county executive director and also acts in an advisory capacity to the farm loan manager and is accountable to the state committee.
He said producers who are eligible to vote in the county committee election may nominate candidates. Nominees must also be eligible voters and must agree to serve on the committee if elected.
Eligible voters must be of legal voting age and have an interest in farmland as an owner, operator, tenant or sharecropper or be eligible to participate in agency programs. The spouse of an eligible voter may also vote and serve on the committee if nominated and elected. Nominations forms became available Aug. 1. Only one nominee may be named on each form. Eligible voters may circulate and sign nomination forms for as many candidates as they choose.
Johnson said in a change from previous elections, there is no required minimum number of nominees for the election. In the past, if fewer than four candidates were nominated by producers, the county committee was required to nominate additional candidates. Under the new rule, if no nominations are received, the county committee will nominate at least three candidates to complete the slate.
If the county committee determines that socially disadvantaged groups, females and minority farmers are not adequately represented it will add nominees who fairly represent the interests of these groups.
Johnson said the committee wanted to see more women and minority farmers participate in the election and run for vacant seats.The deadline to return an nomination form to the FSA office is Sept. 5.