Deadline to Submit COC Nominations is Approaching

FSA Outreach Focus
USDA

FSA Outreach Focus

Reaching Out to Keep Farmers, Ranchers & Partners Informed

July 25, 2016

Nomination Deadline for FSA County Committees Quickly Approaching

Only one week remains for farmers and ranchers to submit a nomination to serve on local Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committees.

“Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice. Their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers across the spectrum of American agriculture, to get involved in this year’s elections. We have seen an increase in the number of qualified nominees, especially among women and minorities, and I hope that trend continues.”

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. The nomination form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2016.

Caillier2

County Committee Advisor Gives Back to FSA and Community

For Tommy Caillier, being an advisor on the Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee was the least he could do to give back to his farming community.

“[FSA] has bent over backwards to help me become successful,” said Caillier. “Anything I can give back, I will do.”

Growing up on a farm in Lafayette, Louisiana, Caillier said he always wanted to be a farmer. But that didn’t happen immediately. Instead, he went into law enforcement, serving with the Lafayette Police Department for 25 years, until he retired in 2007.

It was retirement that brought him back to his dream of owning a farm. He purchased 115 acres of land to start his cow/calf operation. Then he came to the FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for help.

“I sat down with them and told them what I wanted and how many cattle I needed and they worked to make it happen,” said Caillier, who received an operating loan to purchase cattle, a tractor and hay equipment. He also attended FSA financial seminars and was referred to NRCS where he learned about the best grasses to use and rotational grazing.

“I was a new farmer in the area. All of the others had been there forever,” said Caillier. But after almost 6 years of successful farming, people took notice – including the FSA Rapides/Grant Parish Office, which asked him to become an advisor for the FSA County Committee (COC)

“He was a new cattle producer to the area who had good firsthand knowledge of the programs USDA had available because he participated in programs that helped kick start his cattle operation,” said FSA County Executive Director Matt Gwin. “He came highly recommended from other board members and has been a great asset to the COC.”

Caillier accepted the COC advisor position with a mission of getting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers involved with FSA programs. “It’s not difficult, but you need to have an open mind and be able to do things that help socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,” said Caillier, who communicates with minority and women farmers and ranchers to inform them about FSA programs available to them. The challenge is “getting them to take the first step,” he said.

In addition to working with the COC, Caillier continues to work in law enforcement as a city marshal, while continuing to build his cow/calf operation, which is now up to 50 cows. He hopes to expand to 100 in the near future. In the meantime, he has plans to start mentoring young farmers.

“If I can just get one farmer started by mentoring and get them to know and understand how these [FSA] programs help, then I’ve done a good job.”

Announcements and Upcoming Events

  • Farm Storage Facility Loan Webinar will be held Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. EDT. The Farm Storage Facility Loan Program provides low-interest financing so producers can build or upgrade permanent or portable facilities to store commodities. Learn how this program may be able to help your operation. Register.
  • Applications for the AgrAbility program are being accepted through August 2, 2016. The program increases the likelihood that farmers, ranchers, farm workers and farm family members with disabilities will experience success in agricultural production. AgrAbility supports projects between State Cooperative Extension System and private non-profit disability organizations that work in partnership to provide agricultural education and assistance directed at accommodating disability in farm operations for individuals with disabilities, and their families, who engage in farming and farm-related occupations.
  • Registration is open for the 7th National Small Farm Conference hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture and the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The conference will be held Sept. 20-22. Multiple short courses will be available along with oral and poster paper presentations, exhibits and educational tours in and around Virginia Beach and the Chesapeake Bay. Learn more or register today.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).