The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 2, 2021. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members across the nation. In our sixth and final installment, meet Lisa Taylor of Cassia County, Idaho, where she currently serves as the local FSA county committee chairperson.
Lisa, her husband Lynn and their two sons farm 8,000 acres raising wheat, barley, sugar beets, potatoes, corn, alfalfa, and beef cattle. They also have a custom farming operation.
Before she and Lynn were married, Lisa had no farming experience. Thirty-six years later she can run every single piece of machinery used in the operation.
“When we were first married, I never saw him because he was always out in the fields, so I thought I better start learning my way around the farm. I started with running with the windrower,” she said.
While her farming career started because of her marriage, she loves her life on the land.
“I like to watch things grow and do things with my hands and love the smell of harvest,” she said. “And there is no better place to raise your family than on the farm.”
And even though they are currently dealing with drought issues, she says she feels truly blessed to be farming in the Snake River valley of southern Idaho.
A Volunteer’s Heart
Lisa first served as an advisor to the county committee for eight years after someone in the community asked her to get involved.
“I was interested in knowing what was going on, and being involved,” she said. “I love helping out in the community and have served as a volunteer EMT for 32 years.”
In 2019, she was elected the first female FSA county committee member in Cassia County and is currently serving as the committee’s chairperson.
County committee members are farmers elected by their peers to serve as a direct link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers on the committee help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level and work to make FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers.
Each year, FSA accepts nominations for a certain Local Administrative Area and the LAA up for election rotates each year.
The local county committee role is key for keeping the local farming community connected, according to Lisa.
“We help keep the local community involved with what is happening within USDA. It’s so important to have someone you can go to that is local, that knows your area, the different crops that are grown and the different needs of a specific area,” she said.
And while serving on the local committee benefits your community and your neighbors, there are personal benefits as well, said Lisa.
“Knowing about the programs and the many benefits USDA offers helps others, but it also helps yourself and your operation,” she said.
“If someone is thinking about running for election, they should just go for it. The experience and knowledge you gain outweighs the work that is involved.”
Laura Crowell is a public affairs specialist with the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center.