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News Release

USDA Officials Promote Alabama StrikeForce Initiative

Strikeforce AL Dept of Human Res-DemopolisDr. William Puckett, State Food and Agriculture Council Chair and StrikeForce Lead, addresses participants at the Alabama StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Meeting in Demopolis

Auburn, Ala., July 1, 2013 – Mayor Mike Grayson, Demopolis, joined USDA agency officials and county directors from the Alabama Department of Human Resources for an informational meeting of the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Over 25 people from around the state participated in the event held at the Higher Education Center in Demopolis.

Currently, 90 percent of America's persistent poverty counties are in rural America. The StrikeForce Initiative promotes partnership with local and state governments and community organizations on projects that encourage economic development and job creation.

“USDA in Alabama is actively involved in community outreach, service, and economic development,” said State Food and Agriculture Council Chair and StrikeForce Lead Dr. William Puckett. “We look forward to expanding this effort to help rebuild and revitalize rural communities.”

The StrikeForce team will focus on creating jobs, improving quality of life, expanding business and community development, and building partnerships in the following 23 persistent poverty counties in Alabama:

Bibb Dallas Monroe
Bullock Escambia Perry
Barbour Greene Pike
Butler Hale Pickens
Choctaw Lee Russell
Clarke Lowndes Sumter
Conecuh Macon Wilcox
Crenshaw Marengo  







USDA leaders of the Alabama StrikeForce Initiative include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency, the Food and Nutrition Service, U. S. Forest Service, and other USDA offices and state agencies.

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. For more information on the Alabama StrikeForce Initiative, visit