WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 - USDA will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2017 Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections on Monday, Nov 6. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4. Nearly 7,700 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms. A third of county committee seats are up for election each year. Committee members use their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility. “County committee members play an indispensable role in our efforts to provide assistance to producers,” said FSA Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “They provide local input as decisions are made about the services we provide … I strongly encourage all eligible producers to cast a vote for a candidate that brings expertise and a diverse perspective to their local committee.” Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. About 1.7 million producers are eligible to vote in this year’s election. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote. For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or visit your local office.