May 28, 2013

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

USDA Announces Additional $1.75 Million to Boost Rural Economic Growth and Opportunity in 23 High Poverty Counties in Alabama

Contact: Julie B. Yates, Director of Communications, Marketing, and Outreach

AUBURN, Ala., May 24, 2013 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett today announced that Alabama has received an additional $1.75 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) funding to implement conservation practices in 23 high poverty rural counties in Alabama through USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative.

“The StrikeForce Initiative is helping us direct additional resources to better serve producers in Alabama’s persistent poverty counties,” said NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett.  “The additional EQIP and WHIP money will allow us to fund the backlog of applications from previous signups in those 23 counties.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack started the “StrikeForce” initiative as a pilot project in 2010 in selected regions in three states: Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. In 2011 it was expanded to include Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. In 2013, Secretary Vilsack announced new efforts to bring the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity to Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Participants in StrikeForce include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency, the Food and Nutrition Service, and other USDA offices and state agencies. 

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