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USDA Forest Service to give $1,369,370 to Tennessee Schools

WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that more than $389 million is being distributed to 41 states and Puerto Rico for public schools and roads and specific county programs. Schools in Tennessee will receive $1,369,370 of those funds.

"The annual revenue sharing payments are part of the Department of Agriculture's long-standing commitment to rural communities, schools and American youth," said Vilsack. "Our century-long support of America's public schools and roads is one of many ways in which USDA and the Forest Service, as good neighbors and partners, contribute to rural communities becoming self-sustaining and prosperous."

Since 1908, 25 percent of Forest Service revenues from timber sales, mineral leases, recreation, grazing and other sources have been shared with states and counties in which national forest lands are located.

In the 1980s Forest Service revenues began to decline, largely as a result of changes in social values and diminished timber sales volume. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 authorized enhanced and gradually declining payments to ease the transition to reduced federal revenues. Counties received more than $2.5 billion over seven years until the Act expired in September 2007.

In 2008, the Congress extended the program four more years, through 2011. Under the extended Act states and counties will receive another $1.7 billion to help transition to reduced payment levels.

Published January 3, 2011

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