USDA officials visit North Carolina on rural tour

Vilsack visited North Carolina to discuss rural recovery.
Vilsack visited North Carolina to discuss rural recovery.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited North Carolina Monday as part of the rural tour for a community forum to discuss the importance of strengthening education to revitalize rural America.

Vilsack also highlighted the USDA's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding such as $5.34 million from the Farm Service to help farms purchase items such as livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance and cover other operating expenses.

"It is imperative that schools are equipping students with the skills they need for the future and this forum will help us to hear thoughts, concerns and stories in North Carolina to collect ideas about how our government can better serve teachers and students in these communities," Vilsack said.

Duncan and Vilsack highlighted USDA programs for supporting rural families and rural education through development grants for housing and facilities, including more than $19 million for 40 community facilities projects in North Carolina.

Through USDA, the Recovery Act provided for an estimated increase of $608 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in North Carolina. Most four-person households will receive an $80 increase in their monthly SNAP benefit. Eligibility limits on jobless adults will be suspended in most areas.