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May 02, 2013   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
May 02, 2013

Macon County farmer Al Hooks welcomes government, business and education leaders to his farm for the USDA's Alabama StrikeForce announcement.
SHORTER, Ala., — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s StrikeForce initiative is coming to Alabama to promote economic development and job creation in persistent poverty areas. Alabama leaders in government and higher education joined the USDA for the announcement at Al Hooks’ Produce Farm in Shorter May 2.

The goal of StrikeForce is to partner with community organizations and local and state government to increase awareness of and participation in USDA’s economic growth programs.

“The StrikeForce team will focus on opportunities to create jobs, improve quality of life, expand business and community development and build additonal partnerships,” said State Conservationist Bill Puckett, the 2013 Alabama’s StrikeForce Initiative leader. “This initiative was started (from the heart) and because it is right. It's a call to action for us to coordinate and lift up these counties that don't have a lot.”

The initiative will serve 23 counties, which contain areas of persistent poverty based on information from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Counties included are Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter and Wilcox.

“Economic development in rural areas is key to the mission of the Alabama Farmers Federation,” said Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Jimmy Carlisle. “We look forward to working with USDA agencies in Alabama to make sure our members are aware of programs and services.”

The StrikeForce program was piloted in Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi in 2010 and is now active in 13 states. For more information, visit al.nrcs.usda.gov

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