As I write this update, the sun is shining and the snow from Monday’s blizzard is melting. I find it hard to believe that we are less than 2 months away from Spring. Soon there will be baby calves out on fresh green grass and flowers blooming. However, before that can happen we will see the end of another continuing resolution. Hopefully an agreement will be reached, and we will not have another shut down. As I think about what I can do and to help avoid the shutdown, I realize how important it is to support the organizations that fight for our producers and the programs we administer. Ultimately, these organizations are battling for FSA’s piece of the pie too. Membership within NASCOE, NAFEC, and your local agricultural organizations help to strengthen the voice when it comes time to divvy out the budget and ultimately the writing of the upcoming Farm Bill.
With that in mind, I strongly encourage all of you to consider an associate membership with NAFEC. If you’ve been to any meeting I’ve spoken at, you will recognize this next statement. “It only takes $1.00 per pay period or to support NAFEC and strengthen your voice”. The FSA 444 and your state office can get that set up for you. The other option you have is simply writing a check for $20 annually to cover your membership dues. A few documents are in the works right now to help boost NAFEC’s associate membership. I will be sending these out as soon as I receive them and would encourage you to take some time to review and see what NAFEC can do for you, your County Committee, and your producers. Another point to consider is that anyone can an associate member of NAFEC even if they don’t work for FSA.
If you have not already signed your County Committee up for NAFEC, the time is now. NAFEC’s membership year starts January 1 and documents were sent to each state president as well as state NAFEC chairperson the first week of December. The membership drive documents were intended to be disbursed to all counties prior to your organizational meeting. If they did not make it to you timely, please present them at the next COC meeting you have. I do have a revised membership application with a new NAFEC address that will be sent out asap. NAFEC provides support to our local grassroots form of government and we need to do everything in our power to help strengthen this organization. Our county committee members understand the unique scenarios and needs of the producers. Without that local input we would not be able to serve the county as well as we do. NAFEC is the voice that can take concerns to the next level when issues arise. All current and past County Committee members and advisors are eligible to sign up for regular membership. They can sign the FSA-444 and have $4.00 taken out from each paycheck or write an annual check for $40.00. All members receive a complimentary $1,000 life insurance policy, but regular members are also eligible for additional benefits that can be obtained by contacting JM Marketing.
NAFEC has been working on issues that hinder the structure, strength, and integrity of the COC system. Most recently, NAFEC President Craig Turner and NASCOE’s NAFEC Committee Chairperson Billy Wayne Denison attended the Pre-Negotiations meeting in Dallas, TX. They are working diligently with NASCOE to share thoughts and ideas with management that include the need for monthly COC meetings and to clarify the COC’s specific role as the CED’s direct supervisor in the performance planning process, mid-year reviews, and the evaluation process. NASCOE’s NAFEC committee has been actively working on growing membership (both regular and associate), reconciling and updating the NAFEC membership database, and addressing concerns of NAFEC members and FSA employees as they are brought to our attention.
As NASCOE’s MWA NAFEC chairperson, I will do anything I can to assist you and your COC when questions or issues arise. Please do not hesitate to call or email at any time and I will do my best to address your questions as timely as possible. If you would like me to talk to your COC during one of your meetings, please give me a call and we will get something set up.
MWA NAFEC Chair