FSA Office Slated for Cook County
In order to establish a client base in Cook County all urban farmers and producers to be served through the FSA office, there is currently a campaign to have urban farmers and producers complete the form necessary to become FSA customers. This provides the individual with the ability to:
- Take advantage of the farm safety net programming offered by the USDA
- Vote for a candidate within their Local Administrative Area to serve on the Urban Agriculture FSA committee
- Seek nomination to the Urban Agriculture FSA committee.
If a producer is already a FSA customer, that individual can elect to change their service office to the Cook County urban agriculture FSA office.
In addition, the USDA is looking for candidates to serve on the Urban Agriculture FSA committee by being elected in their Local Administrative Area. The deadline for nominations to run for this position is December 2, 2022.
The election ballots will be sent January 3, 2023 to eligible urban farmers and producers to vote on a candidate within their Local Administrative Area. The deadline to cast the ballot will be January 31, 2023. Included with the ballot will be a bio of the individual(s) seeking the position.
The elected three-person Urban Agriculture FSA committee will begin responsibilities on March 1, 2023. The committee members serve three-year terms but since this is a new committee, the committee members will determine which individuals are serving initially one year, two years or three years to create an annual election of a committee member each year moving forward.
The three-person Urban Agriculture FSA committee will be responsible for hiring the Cook County Executive Director to run the office as well as a program technician.
The Cook County office is scheduled to be a four-person office with the previous two individuals and 2 individuals from Natural Resources Conservation Service (also a part of the USDA).
The Cook County location of the office has not yet been identified but the USDA lease company criteria includes the office to be located in Cook County near public transportation and major highways.
Cook County Farm Bureau’s role regarding this newly created FSA office will be:
- To communicate with members and urban producers about how to become clients of the new urban agriculture FSA service office.
- To assist members on filling out the form AD-2047.
- To help identify individuals that may wish to seek nomination and election on to the Urban Agriculture FSA Committee.
- To promote the vote in January, 2023.
- To develop relationships and serve as a resource for the Urban Agriculture FSA committee.
- To evelop relationship and partner with new FSA staff in the future.