By Lauren Moore and Dana Rogge, USDA
The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2020. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members across the nation. This week meet Janis Wittenmyer of Findlay, Ohio, where she and her husband, Gary, produce corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Janis and Gary built their operation from the ground up, starting four decades ago with a 40-acre land purchase with Gary’s brother.
“It’s truly a family operation,” Janis said. “Getting to work side-by-side and having the opportunity to build a business is just so satisfying.”
Janis serves as a member of the Hancock County FSA County Committee. In the past she worked as a part-time, temporary employee for FSA in her local county office. She resigned from the position to work for her brother and son’s business. It was then that the local County Executive Director asked if she’d be interested in serving on the committee.
“The county committee helps keep things local,” she said. “County committee members know what local producers are experiencing.”
Each year, FSA accepts nominations for a certain Local Administrative Area (LAA) and the LAA up for election rotates each year.
“I enjoy the relationships with my fellow committee members and the FSA staff,” Janis said. “I love representing local farmers and solving problems.”
County committees are unique to FSA and serve as a direct link between agricultural communities across the country and USDA. Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA.
“It’s an opportunity to serve your local farmers and give back,” said Janis. “It’s also a great educational experience because you start to really understand how your local FSA works and their daily operations.”