OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Several agricultural leaders were present this week at the state Capitol to discuss the USDA StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth, including US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Oklahoma USDA Rural Development State Director Ryan McMullen. State Senator Darcy Jech, State Representative David Perryman, and Caddo County leadership representatives were also in attendance.
In 2010, Secretary Vilsack established USDA's StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity to address the specific challenges associated with rural poverty. Since then, StrikeForce teams have collaborated with more than 500 community partners and public entities across twenty states to bring targeted assistance to rural areas experiencing chronic poverty. StrikeForce efforts have also helped direct over $16 billion in investments to create jobs, build homes, feed kids, assist farmers, and conserve natural resources in the country's most economically challenged areas. In 2015, StrikeForce expanded to include Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. Now, USDA StrikeForce teams operate in 880 counties and in 21 states.