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USDA Announces Naming Cooperative Agreement to Boost StrikeForce Outreach

Larry Yerich, Public Information Coordinator
Release Date
Oct 24, 2014

Citing importance of collaboration and partnerships in his speech to the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that a Cooperative Agreement has been established between USDA-Rural Development and the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP).  The purpose of the agreement is based on the mission the two agencies have in common.

"AVCP has been a critical player in accomplishing what rural communities need.  This Cooperative Agreement has been established so that AVCP can assist USDA in projects, outreach and the community and economic development in the region,” said USDA-RD Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund. “Secretary Vilsack and AVCP President Myron Naneng each signed the Agreement yesterday which sets the stage for a new era of partnership between our two organizations. The ultimate goal is to provide better service for the residents of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region," added Nordlund.

USDA-RD works to improve the economy and quality of life for all rural Alaskans. The agency delivers loans, grants and technical assistance services through nearly 40 different programs. Primary services include single-family housing, multifamily housing, community facilities, business and energy development, sanitation and solid waste facilities, telecommunications, and utility scale electric.

The AVCP region is nearly 60,000 square miles and located in the Western Alaska StrikeForce area. The population is about 25,000, of which 85 percent are Native Alaskan; a vast majority of them are Yup’ik Eskimo.  The largest community is Bethel with a population of 6,000, and it serves as a hub for surrounding villages. Given the vast area of and the logistical challenges to serving its remote communities, this Cooperative Agreement will afford residents more accessibility to much-needed services provided by both AVCP and USDA-RD.