FSA County Committee and Local Administrative Areas – Tribal Jurisdiction Breakdown
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) supports farms and farming communities with disaster relief, conservation programs, commodity price guarantee programs, and loan programs. These programs are carried out in jurisdictions called Local Administrative Areas (LAA), which elected members of the County Committee system manage. These entities wield significant influence on the implementation of these programs related to production and lands within their county, including lands of federally recognized Tribes. Participating in the process by nominating qualified Tribal members and/or voting in FSA elections can improve the agency’s service to Tribes and Tribal citizens. Time is running out, as nominations for upcoming elections must occur in-person at a USDA Service Office by Aug. 1, 2023.
What types of County Committee decisions could impact tribes and why is tribal participation important?
County Committees make local hiring and programmatic decisions that impact the county and the community which includes the Tribal community. Each LAA within a county is represented by local producers who can provide input on the unique needs of the LAA they represent. The term producer refers to owners, operators, landlords, tenants or sharecrop holders that have a farming interest within an LAA. All enrolled members of the Tribe are considered landowners and therefore are eligible to participate by voting, nominating or serving.
Your participation is important as it provides you with the opportunity to advocate for the Tribe by submitting a nomination or by voting in the COC election. The elected representative, which will be determined by majority vote, will serve as an advocate for tribal producers, share the unique needs of the Tribe and will participate in all COC decisions including those that impact Tribal based agricultural producers.
All enrolled Tribal citizens are encouraged to submit nominations and vote. If you are not an FSA customer, please reach out to update your voter eligibility. All registered voters who have provided a current address will receive a ballot by mail.
It is important for Tribal Governments and Tribal citizens to be aware of opportunities to participate in County Committee activities because:
- County Committee boundaries include tribal lands and therefore programmatic decisions may impact Tribal agriculture producers in the county.
- All Tribal citizen residing in the LAA where a Tribe holds land tribally owned and/or in trust status, as well as allotted lands are authorized to vote in the County Committee election, as they are collectively considered owners of Tribal trust lands.
- Individuals may nominate themselves or someone else
- Tribal governments or local Tribal organizations are encouraged to nominate candidates in the elections.
- Tribal members who share in the risk of producing an agriculture commodity are eligible to be nominated and serve. Eligibility may be confirmed with your local FSA office.
Elections are held every three years in at least one LAA represented by an elected member. Each county or multicounty jurisdiction is made up of three to 11 LAAs and members will serve a three-year term.
NOTICE to Tribal producers, the nomination window for upcoming elections can be made in person or with a nominee’s signature who agrees to serve if elected at a USDA Service Office by August 1, 2023:
- November 6, 2023 – Ballots mailed to eligible voters
- December 4, 2023 – Last day to return voted ballots to the USDA Service Center.
- January 1, 2024 – Newly elected county committee members take office.
The most recent County Commission election results were from 2021.
- A total of 1,697,807 eligible voters were associated with 2,623 LAAs holding an election in 2021.
- The total number of ballots cast in LAAs holding an election was 174,981, while the total cast by Native Americans/Alaska Natives was 23,395.
- The percentage of all eligible voters casting ballots was 10.3%.
- Out of 4,768 nominees nationwide, only 176 were American Indian/Alaskan Native.
To get in touch with your LAA County Committee, please visit fsa.usda.gov/elections. Read the USDA Frequently Asked Questions document about county committees here.
 Of those nominees listed as Native American/Alaska Native, 134 were male, 42 were female.