WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced six additional locations for Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees focused exclusively on urban agriculture.
Organized under USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture, the new committees in Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, Phoenix, and St. Louis join ones in Albuquerque, N.M, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore. and Richmond, Va. (announced earlier this year) and are part of a broader effort directed by the 2018 Farm Bill for USDA to enhance support for urban agriculture.
“County committees play a critical role in representing farmer priorities at the local level,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “These six FSA county committees will provide input and priorities unique to the opportunities and challenges of farming in urban environments.”
Added FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce: “Urban and suburban farmers’ service on the county committees can elevate the needs of their fellow growers, their communities, and address issues related to access to healthy food. I encourage urban growers in these locations to take this opportunity to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee.”
The urban and suburban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural production practices. Additionally, the new county committees may address areas such as food access, community engagement, support of local activities to promote, and encourage community compost and food waste reduction.
Committees weigh in on important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment, and other agricultural issues.
Nominations for Urban County Committees
FSA will begin accepting nominations for urban and suburban county committee members in June 2021. Urban farmers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program in the county selected may either be nominated or may nominate themselves or others as a candidate. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women, and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.
To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections or farmers.gov/urban. All nomination forms for the urban and suburban county committees must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by August 2, 2021.
Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning November 1, 2021.
Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members serve on FSA county committees. The committees consist of three to 11 members, who serve three-year terms and typically meet once a month.
The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to form the urban county committees as well as make other advancements related to urban agriculture. The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture. Its mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including community composting and food waste reduction. More information is available at farmers.gov/urban.
Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include Agricultural Marketing Service grants to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers and FSA loans.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
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