0716USDACommitteeStructures.cfm 0716USDACommitteeStructures.cfm Malatya Haber NASCOE supports USDA proposal to alter county committee structure
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NASCOE supports USDA proposal to alter county committee structure

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The National Association of FSA County Office Employees commends USDA and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for the recent proposal to initially appoint socially disadvantaged farmers as voting members of the county committees to increase diversity on Farm Service Agency committees.

NASCOE President John Lohr stated, "For far too long county committees have been unfairly criticized by some for not adequately representing their constituencies. The secretary's proposal should help eliminate this criticism and allow county committees to focus on the delivery of programs to America's farmers and ranchers."

NASCOE is further suggesting that the secretary consider including the following recommendation which has already been submitted as a comment on the proposed rule by the National Association of Farmer Elected Committees:

"NAFEC urges that beginning in 2013, at-large voting seats be established for the underrepresented groups and in 2014, nominations and elections be held so that all members of the county committees are elected by a majority of the eligible voters. NAFEC is very concerned about the proposed appointment process which would inject politics into the county committee system and we believe it would be a huge problem for the Secretary of Agriculture to identify and appoint numerous qualified committee members each year. NAFEC feels very strongly about maintaining local accountability the current elected system affords and encourages USDA to continue this process."

Lohr continued, "NASCOE echoes NAFEC's concern that the FSA farmer-elected committee model of democracy and decentralized decision making authority not be compromised in any way by the proposed appointment process."

NASCOE is an organization that represents the county level employees of the FSA, United States Department of Agriculture. NASCOE has maintained a long-standing labor-management relations agreement with FSA which has as one of its objectives the facilitation of more effective and active support of the farmer-elected committee system for the betterment of agriculture. NASCOE believes that taking the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule would be in keeping with both the letter and spirit of this labor-management agreement.

Date: 9-24-2012



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