As November draws to a close and Thanksgiving is here, it may be difficult to find things we are thankful for this year. For me, I am grateful to the Farm Service Agency staff who have been here and worked in all different circumstances to administer the programs FSA has to offer. It hasn’t been easy, but they have risen to every challenge and change thrown at them this year. I am also thankful for the ability to serve our farmers and ranchers that continually support and strengthen our local communities and a food source that never fails. Your perseverance is truly admirable, and I cannot thank you enough. We also appreciate your patience and flexibility while working with us through all different circumstances this year.
    A reminder that Dec. 11 is the deadline to enroll in 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2. Please contact your office if you need to complete these tasks.
    The United States Department of Agriculture has mailed ballots for the FSA county committee elections to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country. To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by Dec. 7.
    “FSA has over 7,000 county committee members nationwide who serve their communities by providing input on our programs at the local level,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “We value their knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and safety-net programs.”
    Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office, and at least one seat is up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2021. County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support, conservation, indemnity and disaster, and emergency programs and eligibility.
    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(s) but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Also, producers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm but are not of legal voting age may be eligible to vote.
    Producers can find out if their local administrative area is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local FSA county office. Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/elections for more information.
    Farm Service Agency is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Complaints about discrimination should be sent to: Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. Visit the Farm Service Agency Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov/ for necessary application forms and updates on USDA programs.