Hunters may help feed the poor

By Imari Scarborough

September 9, 2013

Join in for a USDA Strike Force Meeting to help “Feed the Hungry” in Richmond, Anson and Montgomery counties.

The meeting will be held Sept. 12, from 7-9 p.m. at the Richmond County Agricultural Service Center at 123 Caroline St., Suite 400, Rockingham.

The Farm Service Agency and Cooperative Extension Service from Richmond, Anson and Montgomery counties, along with Backyard Bow Pro (Joe Lasher) are sponsoring this event. To learn more about how this will work visit or or

Hunters and landowners will be discussing ways they can partner up to alleviate poverty in nearby rural areas.

Earlier this year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch its “StrikeForce” initiative in 10 additional states, including North Carolina. The primary goal of the StrikeForce initiative is to increase partnership with rural communities and leverage community resources in targeted, persistent poverty areas. Vilsack noted that through the StrikeForce initiative, USDA will do more to partner with local and state governments and community organizations on projects that promote economic development and job creation.

“During my travels across the country, I’ve heart mayors and other community leaders say they have a hard time competing for USDA loan and grant programs. They have a plan to develop a new business or create jobs in their regions, but they lack development capital and they view our application and review processes as a barrier,” said Vilsack. “StrikeForce changes that. By increasing outreach and technical assistance to communities, we can serve as better partners and help better leverage resources.”

The “StrikeForce” initiative started 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.

According to Amy Yaklin, director of the FSA in Richmond County, the goal is to encourage hunters to help feed people by donating meat to be processed into one-pound packages and taken to local food banks, which will freeze them and keep them for the community.

“This is one way for us to reach the community,” said Yaklin. “One deer can provide 200 meals. But we need donations.”