Agricultural producers in Lewis and Pacific Counties have an opportunity to provide direction for federal farm programs. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is seeking candidates for the grower-elected County Committee. Generally, any person involved with growing crops, timber, or livestock, (including landowners) is eligible to serve on the committee. Nomination petitions can be obtained by contacting the local FSA office at 360-748-0083. Nominations must be submitted to the FSA county office by Aug. 1.

This year the areas up for election are Local Administrative Area (LAA) No. 3 which covers all of Pacific County with the exception of the coastline and is currently being served by Vic Boekelman, and LAA 5 which covers all of Lewis County east of the E/W Meridian, in other words, Onalaska and east, and is currently being served by Leo Zylstra. The people elected will join Byron Bentson, Allen Devlin and Sam Zion whose positions are not up for election this year.

"We would like to have as broad a representation of the agricultural community as possible on the committee," said Lynne White, FSA Acting County Executive Director for the Twin Harbors-Lewis FSA Office. "The County Committee is an important part of the delivery of USDA services to growers and we want to include people representing a variety of crops or different types of operations. We encourage women and growers of different ethnic backgrounds to seek nomination."

The FSA County Committee is the most direct link between USDA Farm programs and local growers. The County Committee system helps shape nation-wide programs into programs that work at the local level by making decisions related to commodity price support loans and payments, establishing allotments, yields and marketing quotas for some crops, and by making eligibility determinations for conservation programs, as well as disaster assistance.

"The people elected to the committee will become part of a national network of farmers and ranchers that have a unique opportunity to help the future of all local growers," White said. "Without local input and expertise, the national programs tend to take on the character of one size fits all."

Persons interested in holding office as a county committee member are encouraged to check eligibility requirements with the local Twin Harbors-Lewis FSA office. Additional information may be requested by contacting FSA staff at 1554 Bishop Rd in Chehalis (phone 360-748-0083).

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