Open Positions on Georgia FSA County Committees

From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Michael Wall, Georgia Organics Director of Programs:

Small-Scale and Sustainable Farmers, Here’s a Way to Serve Your Community 

Eight Georgia counties – Dodge, Early, Henry, Jackson, Lamar, Lowndes, Miller, and Randolph – are seeking black or female representation on the USDA’s Farm Service Agency committees.

This is an great opportunity for organic and sustainable growers to stand up and participate in an important process in Georgia’s agriculture community.

Farmers and ranchers who are elected to serve on FSA county committees apply their judgment and knowledge to help with the decisions necessary to administer FSA programs in their counties, ensuring the needs of local producers are met. FSA county committees operate within official federal regulations so that local input is provided on federal programs such as:

·         Income safety-net loans and payments, including setting county average yields for commodities

·         Conservation programs

·         Incentive, indemnity and disaster payments for some commodities

·         Emergency programs

·         Payment eligibility

To nominate yourself or someone you know, fill out the last page of this document (Exhibit 4). Then, contact your FSA County Director to finalize your paperwork. You can find your county FSA office here.

Jack Kingston, from Rep to ag lobbyist

After a failed bid for Saxby Chambliss's spot in the U.S. Senate, Jack Kingston, former representative of Georgia's 1st District, is following the unelected politician's well-worn path to K-Street. Per the AJC, Kingston will join the "powerhouse lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs" to "'assist with business development and strategic counseling' in areas where Kingston specialized in Congress, including defense, health care and agriculture" (emphasis added).

Clearly, Kingston's tenure in Congress didn't wow the voters of Georgia. I know a certain few, myself included, still galled by his rider to pull the main road on Cumberland Island out of Wilderness designation. However, Kingston deserves credit for a campaign strategy that tried to grab Chambliss's base from the get-go, emphasizing South Georgia and agriculture long before those became talking points for the contestants late in the general election. His signs were the only ones displayed on the road to the 2013 Sunbelt Ag Expo that I can remember. And for a period of time, he seemed to be the only candidate speaking for residents of that huge swath of dirt from Donalsonville to Sylvania--the peanut and cotton economy.

It'll be interesting to see how visible and influential Kingston continues to be, with his political career likely at its end. But the larger questions persist. While it's not as if any newly elected senator from the Peach State will forget that agriculture is Georgia's number industry, the concentration of political power in Atlanta is alarming for a place as large and divided as Georgia. Two senators from the same city is not good for Georgians.