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News Release

USDA Announces $1.979 Million for StrikeForce Counties

USDA Announces Additional $1.979 Million to address the StrikeForce Initiative in 25 Identified High Poverty Counties in Arkansas

Little Rock, Ark., July 06, 2011 – USDA recently announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arkansas has received an additional $1.8 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding and $179,000 in Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) funding to implement conservation practices in 25 identified high poverty rural counties in Arkansas through the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative. 

Arkansas is one of three pilot states participating in the StrikeForce Initiative.  It is designed to help relieve persistent poverty in high poverty counties by accelerating USDA assistance while working closely with Community Based Organizations. The StrikeForce Initiative counties are: 

  • Arkansas
  • Bradley
  • Chicot
  • Clark
  • Columbia
  • Dallas
  • Desha
  • Drew
  • Hempstead
  • Howard
  • Jackson
  • Lafayette
  • Lawrence
  • Lee
  • Mississippi
  • Monroe
  • Nevada
  • Newton
  • Ouachita
  • Phillips
  • Randolph
  • Searcy
  • Sevier
  • St. Francis
  • Woodruff

“The StrikeForce Initiative is helping us direct additional resources to better serve producers in persistent poverty rural communities,” said NRCS State Conservationist Mike Sullivan.  “The additional EQIP and WHIP money will allow us to fund more requests in those counties from previous signups.

“We are focusing on these identified high poverty counties to help improve the quality of life of producers and to accelerate implementation of conservation practices on their land,” said Sullivan.  “With the additional funding, all applications from historically underserved producers will be funded and serviced.”

NRCS uses EQIP as a tool to help farmers be stewards of the nation’s resources.  EQIP is a voluntary conservation program administered by NRCS.  Reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, it supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers may receive financial and technical help with structural and management conservation practices on agricultural land.

WHIP addresses wildlife habitat in riparian areas, wetlands, uplands and cave ecosystems; and elk and quail habitat. Each area will have specific conservation practices eligible for cost-sharing that benefit certain wildlife species.

Landowners wanting more information about the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative should contact NRCS at their local USDA Service Center, listed in phone directories under U.S. Government, or contact Charlie Williams, USDA StrikeForce Leader, at 870-814-3052 or at charlie.williams@ar.usda.gov

Arkansas StrikeForce Information