|L-R: Nancy Cox, dean of UK's College of Agriculture, Food|
and Environment; Secy. Tom Vilsack; Gov. Steve Beshear.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at the University of Kentucky Thursday that the Department of Agriculture will give UK $2.5 million to establish the USDA Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center.
"This program will target child hunger and poverty in persistently poor rural communities by partnering with agencies who have the resources and expertise to make a difference," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a UK news release. "This program will do more than offer aid. It will attack the root causes of child hunger and poverty."
UK will partner with the Altarum Institute and the Southern Rural Development Center to develop the center. They hope to administer grants to as many as 30 impoverished rural areas in up to 15 states. The communities would use the funds to better coordinate existing child-nutrition programs as well as find new ways to target child food insecurity, the release says.
Rural children who live in poverty are some of the most vulnerable, and 85 percent of all persistently poor counties in the U.S are rural. Twenty-six percent of Kentucky's children live in poverty.