USDA Creating a Farm Service Agency in Cook County
The USDA is creating 11 urban Farm Service Agency offices (pilot programs) in the United States with a focus on serving urban agriculture and the underserved populace. One of those FSA offices is slated to be located in Cook County.
We are encouraging Cook County urban farmers and producers to sign up to become FSA customers. As a reminder, completing the form number 8040 – 27 to become FSA customers 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 (3 total), seek nomination
- become elected 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.
There are several nominated candidates to serve on the Urban Agriculture FSA committee in each of the three districts to be elected in their Local Administrative Area. The deadline for nominations to run for this position was December 2. The election ballots will be sent January 3 to eligible urban farmers and producers to vote on a candidate within their Local Administrative Area with a January 31 deadline to cast the ballot. 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. The committee members serve three-year terms but since this is a new committee, the committee members will determine which individuals are serving a one, two and so that there can be a regular rotation election each year.
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 NRCS.
The 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.
Additional information and a link to the list of the Q and A information provided by the FSA can be accessed at https://cookcfb.org/discover-local/cook-county-fsa-resources.
Please call the Cook County Farm Bureau at 708-354-3276 with questions or for assistance.