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USDA official announces jobs pact for Appalachia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced an agreement for several federal agencies to work with the Appalachian Regional commission to help boost the region's economy.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan unveiled the agreement Friday at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.

The Agriculture Department says the agreement also has been signed by the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services and Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration.

The agreement sets up a council to coordinate activities and calls for collaboration with state and local government, among other things.

The commission covers Virginia, West Virginia and 11 other states.