Agriculture Secretary Says Some Committe Seats May Be Filled By Appointment
A recent announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack could make it possible for County Committee seats typically filled via direct election to be filled by appointment. According to a press release, the non-elected officials must come from “Socially Disadvantaged Groups.” In Missoula County, Female Farmers will be considered, while in many other Montana counties, Native American farmers may be appointed. Acting Executive Director for the Montana State Farm Service Association, Dick Deschamps explains that this "this is the first time that anybody's had the authority to actually place somebody on the committee without the benefit of an election process." Deschamps spoke to KGVO News about the upcoming changes and says that he is pretty confident the appointments won't be necessary in Montana because of a concerted effort in Montana to ensure that the committees represent the people they serve. In the following interview, Deschamps explains the purpose of the committees and goes into some detail about how the change could effect Montana.
The proposed changes are open to public comment for sixty days.