The nomination period for local county committees has begun for the 2013 county committee election cycle. All eligible farmers and ranchers are encouraged to participate in this year’s county committee elections by nominating candidates by the Aug. 1 deadline. County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the USDA and provide an opportunity to farmers and ranchers for their opinions and ideas to be heard. FSA has been seeing an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates, and the agency is hopeful that trend continues.
Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. Form FSA-669A must be signed by the eligible individual, and is available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or can be obtained at the local county office. Nomination forms for the 2013 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. All Pennsylvania county committees consist of three to five members that are elected by eligible producers. Elections will take place this fall.
FSA encourages all producers to report planted crop acreages and plant dates to the local county office. In some cases, reporting acreages are a requirement for program participation and benefits. After spring planting, producers should certify their 2013 acreage. Filing an accurate acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of Farm Service Agency programs. If a producer experiences failed acreage, the acreage and crop must be reported within 15 days of the disaster event and before disposition of the crop. Prevented planting crop acreages must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date. The crop reporting date for Pennsylvania is July 15 for all other planted crops and August 15 for processing beans, cabbage and CRP/CREP.
Producers are encouraged to sign up for 2013 DCP prior to the Aug. 2 deadline. The ACRE election and enrollment period closed on June 3. In a change from last year, producers who were previously enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may elect to enroll in DCP for 2013. DCP pays eligible producers a direct payment for enrolled base acres. Producers are prohibited from planting fruit or vegetable crops on enrolled acres and must maintain the contract acres as agricultural land for the contract period.
Communicating USDA program information and services is a high priority within the Farm Service Agency. USDA’s GOV Delivery is an innovative form of communicating mission-critical information. GOV Delivery is an electronic format in which farmers, ranchers, producers, landowners and other interested individuals may subscribe to receive electronic newsletters, bulletins and program updates at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/subscribe.
To learn more about these and other FSA programs, visit your local FSA County Office or our website at www.fsa.usda.gov/pa. Additionally, 2013 Farm Bill extension information is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/ATRA.