The Merced-Mariposa Farm Service Agency is seeking Merced County farmers and ranchers to aid in the search for a Westside representative, according to a press release.
The agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wants the farmers and ranchers to nominate candidates to represent the agriculture and conservation concerns of greater Gustine and Los Banos.
"County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture," the release said, "and provide a voice to landowners, farmers and ranchers, so that they have an opportunity for their opinions and ideas to be heard."
County committees do not preside over farm loans, but do make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.
The Merced County committee consists of four members, who serve three-year terms.
To be eligible to serve on the agency county committee, candidates must participate or cooperate in a program administered by the FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area.
Nominations can be made by organizations representing minorities or women, and farmers and ranchers can nominate themselves or others.
Nomination forms and other county committee information is available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms are due by the close of business on Aug. 1.
The Merced FSA office is located at 2135 W. Wardrobe Ave., Suite B, in Merced, and can be contacted by phone at (209) 722-4119, ext. 2, by fax at (209) 725-2964 or by e-mail at laura.westerfield@