USDA farm program participants should be watching their mailboxes for ballots for the upcoming county Farm Service Agency committee elections.

Ballots for local administrative area positions on the committee are scheduled to arrive by Nov. 3. The deadline for returning the marked ballots to the county FSA or USDA Service Center office is Dec. 5.

Farmers and ranchers who serve on county committees help make decisions necessary to administer federal farm programs, such as commodity price support loans and payments, conservation programs, disaster payments and employing county executive directors.

Nominations for the upcoming elections closed on Aug.1.

Newly elected county committee members will take office Jan. 1. For more information about county committees, visit the county FSA office or go to http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections/Default.asp.

County Farm Service Agency offices are also advising growers that digital maps will soon replace the paper maps the offices have used for decades.

Once the maps are converted to the new computer image, FSA officials said, producers will be notified in writing of the new outlined farms, fields, roads, ponds and any acreage differences from the old maps to the new maps.

“Producers will only have 30 days to appeal the line work,” one official says. “Once the 30 days have elapsed, the acreage will become the permanent acreage to be used for all FSA current and future programs. These changes could affect government payments and perhaps the value of the farm.”

FSA says the conversion process will take some time. Producers should check with their county office periodically to determine the status and projected completion date of the mapping process to make sure the 30-day appeal deadline is not inadvertently missed.