StrikeForce Initiative to Assist Impoverished Areas

USDA targets South Carolina, nine other states

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- The United States Department of Agriculture wants to give farmers, food producers and other businesses equal and easier access to money available from the federal government, and it is looking to a new initiative to assist.

Getting funds from Washington, the USDA says, can be difficult due for those in rural, impoverished areas.

Enter the StrikeForce Initiative.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, along with Congressman Jim Clyburn, announced South Carolina is one of 10 states with high levels of poverty that could benefit from StrikeForce and gain access to monies available for projects like new wells, community gardens and summer meals for low-income school children.

"This will allow us to focus on areas where poverty rates, based on census data information, are 20% or more and has persistently over that 20%," said Vilsack.

"Here in South Carolina we'll focus in large measure on the I-95 corridor because that's where so many of our rural communities are," said Clyburn.

Secretary Vilsack says the USDA also plans to also put new ideas on the table regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the state and Gov. Nikki Haley's recent efforts to impose restrictions on what folks who receive food stamps can and cannot buy.

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