The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began Friday and runs through Aug. 1. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll introduce you to county committee members across the nation. This week, meet Katie Molodich of Sterling, Connecticut.

Agriculture has always been a part of Katie’s life. Her mother, Betsy, has owned and operated a fruit and vegetable business for over 20 years. Her father, Michael, runs Molodich Dairy Farm with her four brothers.

Katie hit the farm running right after earning her degree in ornamental horticulture from the University of Connecticut in 2014. Katie and her mom raise 14 acres of fruits and vegetables to sell at the family’s farm stand, named Betsy’s Stand.

Katie also co-owns and operates Sweet’s Maple, a maple syrup operation, with her husband, Tom Sweet, and is a member of the Northeast Connecticut Farmers Market Association.

A Pledge for Larger Service

Katie ran for her first term as a county committee member for the Wyndham County Farm Service Agency (FSA) after seeing her mother’s positive impacts on their community as a three-term committee member.

County committee members are farmers elected by their peers to serve as a direct link between the agricultural community and USDA.

Katie was elected to help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level, help decide the kind of programs her county will offer and work to make FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers. Each year, FSA accepts nominations for a certain Local Administrative Area (LAA) and the LAA up for election rotates each year.

“County committees are vital because they bridge the gap between the agricultural programs that FSA offers and the farmers that benefit from the programs,” Katie said. “As a county committee member, you are the agricultural roots to the FSA, a balance so to say.

"You provide feedback based on your knowledge of the agriculture in your county, and you provide information about the programs that are offered by FSA to fellow farmers in the agriculture industry.”

Katie finds her experiences with agriculture have been both productive and rewarding.

Living the Sweet Farm Life

From the start of the season in March, Katie and her mom share all the roles on the farm. They work together in the greenhouses, plant crops, pick corn, prepare vegetables for market, run the farm stand and staff the farmers markets.

“I chose a career in agriculture because of my love for the industry. I grew up helping my mom with her business. I really enjoyed watching the seeds we planted in the spring grow into something we harvested and then sold directly to consumers at farmer’s markets,” Katie said.

Katie finds her experiences with agriculture have been both productive and rewarding.

This year, she serves as chairperson for her local FSA county committee. She understands how crucial her role is as the county committee chairperson and how valuable her first-hand knowledge is in helping the committee make informed decisions about the welfare of local farmers and those benefiting from their services.

Katie tells others looking to get involved as a county committee member to “just do it.”

“It’s a great opportunity to get more involved with agriculture in your county. You get to learn a lot about what’s going on at the state and national levels and how it impacts your county,” she said.

For more information on FSA county committee elections, contact your local FSA office or visit fsa.usda.gov/elections.