BEREA, Ky. — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been in Kentucky to announce a program to reduce rural poverty nationwide.

The project involves a partnership with 26 community development organizations to give long-term, low-interest financing to local entities for community facilities and services, such as education, health care and infrastructure.

The Agriculture Department said in a news release the partnership will provide $401 million of Community Facilities program funds.

Vilsack made the announcement Thursday at Berea College, which has received Agriculture Department funding to help businesses become more energy efficient.

The agency said many of the projects will be in some of the poorest areas of the U.S., such as communities in Appalachia, the colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border and the Mississippi Delta region.

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