The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has started mailing ballots for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country. To be counted, ballots must be returned to the Panola County FSA office or postmarked by Dec. 6.

“FSA county committee members provide valuable knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and safety-net programs,” said Ralph Jordan, county executive director for Panola County. “Please take a few minutes to review your ballot and make your selection prior to the Dec. 6 deadline.”

Each committee has from 3 to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office, and at least one seat is up for election each year for a certain Local Administrative Area (LAA). Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2022. County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

The nominees up for election in LAA 2, which includes Walnut Grove, DeBerry and Deadwood in Panola County are A.V. Clay and Cleon Williams.

Clay is nominated to serve as a committee member for a three-year term. Clay resides in DeBerry and has produced livestock/hay for 64 years. He is an active member of Beef and Forage Committee.

Williams has also been nominated to serve as a committee member for a three-year term. Williams resides in Deadwood and has produced livestock/hay for 25 years. He currently works for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Also, for County Committee elections, producers who are not of legal voting age, but supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, are eligible to vote.

Producers can find out if their LAA is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local FSA county office. Visit fsa.usda.gov/elections for more information.

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