USDA's StrikeForce Initiative expands into four new states

The StrikeForce program works with poverty-stricken neighborhoods to become financially reliant in their own communities. | File photo

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative is expanding into the rural areas of four additional states -- Florida, Missouri, Montana and Ohio -- to combat poverty. 

The six-year-old program has supported almost 200,000 projects and invested $23.5 billion to the country’s poorest neighborhoods.

"Growing the economy by investing in rural communities, farmers, makers and innovators, and increasing opportunities for families are keys to our nation's future," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "StrikeForce has proven to be an effective, collaborative process that builds partnerships and enables USDA to bring economic opportunity directly to rural Americans where they live and helps rural communities leverage their assets."

The StrikeForce program works within the poverty-stricken neighborhoods with local organizations, businesses, foundations, universities, faith-based groups and others to work to become financially reliant in their own communities. In 2015, StrikeForce helped to create or save more than 5,800 jobs, assisted over 14,600 farmers and landowners to preserve natural resources and protect the environment as well as giving nearly 10,000 farmers farm loan assistance. 

USDA officials say President Barack Obama’s dedication to strengthening rural communities has led to a spotlight on rural poverty, leading to the creation of StrikeForce and other programs like it.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue Southwest Washington, DC - 20250

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