Local/Regional News
1:01 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Kentucky Becomes USDA "StrikeForce" State

U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack joined state leaders Friday to announce Kentucky's new status as a "StrikeForce" state.

Credit farmflavor.com

StrikeForce is now one of several anti-poverty efforts targeting parts of the Bluegrass. It will work alongside the federal "Promise Zones" designation announced last week by President Barack Obama and the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, initiative introduced by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers.

Sec. Vilsack has praised the program as a new way of doing business.

"We've seen an increased activity in farm loans as a result of StrikeForce. Small producers, socially-disadvantaged producers, beginning farmers. Minority producers are getting more credit opportunities than they have before," he said during a Google+ hangout in 2013.

StrikeForce is designed to boost access to the USDA's programs targeting rural poverty by ensuring that applications for grants will receive preferential "points" in scoring, meaning Kentucky will have a better shot at funding Rural Development projects, the Farm Service Agency, and food and nutrition services.

The news comes as Beshear and Rogers unveil the initial SOAR report Friday.