DoD, USDA partner to help military families

Thursday - 5/5/2011, 11:38am EDT

Brent Elrod, national program leader of military and veterans programs, USDA

Click to hear the interview.

Download mp3

The Pentagon and the Agriculture Department have teamed up on a new initiative to meet the needs of military families. With longer deployments, more single parents, and more families living off base, the challenges that military families face is changing.

The new Military Extension Partnership is part of the larger "Joining Forces" initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.

"USDA and DoD have worked together for more than 25 years to serve the needs of military families. This latest expansion will give the established civilian network of extension offices a greater ability to help our service members and their loved ones," said Catherine Woteki, USDA chief scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, in a press release. "Our extension system is woven into the fabric of communities across the country where our military families live in order to make this partnership with DoD an efficient and effective proposition for everyone involved."

According to the USDA, the partnership is aimed at accomplishing three main goals:

  • Increasing and strengthening community capacity in support of military families,
  • Increasing professional and workforce development opportunities for those working with military families, and
  • Expanding and strengthening family, childcare and youth development programs.

Brent Elrod, the national program leader of military and veterans programs at USDA, talked to Federal News Radio about some of the programs that will be offered through the initiative.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.