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USDA Celebrates "America Saves Week," Supporting Financial Security and Literacy

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is celebrating America Saves Week, part of a government-wide effort, Feb. 19-26, to help all individuals learn more about personal finance and help build a secure financial future for themselves and their families. This year’s theme is, “Set a Goal, Make a Plan and Save Automatically.”

“Through these tough economic times, programs offered by the Cooperative Extension System (CES) are helping families learn about sound money management,” said Chavonda Jacobs-Young, acting director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). “We are working to provide people with the information, education and tools they need to make smart financial choices for their future.”

As part of the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC), the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences at NIFA partners with the CES to deliver programming in local communities that focuses on five core areas: earning income, spending, saving and investing, borrowing and protecting finances. This programming helps support the nation’s financial stability, because financial literacy among individuals and families has a dramatic impact on the financial health of local communities and regional markets. 

FLEC is comprised of 22 federal entities and is chaired by the U.S. Treasury Department.  One of FLEC’s primary responsibilities is to develop and promote financial literacy in the United States.  Along with the 22 federal partners, NIFA is engaged in implementing the 2011 National Strategy for Financial Literacy, designed to empower Americans to make wise decisions regarding their personal finances.

This year NIFA and the CES developed lessons for extension educators to use in their outreach efforts to consumers. NIFA’s involvement will also include recognizing the efforts of higher educational institutions that offer personal finance, consumer sciences and family resource management curriculum. CES efforts this year are focused on educating consumers to “start small and think big” in their financial planning activities. Additional CES personal finance information is available on the eXtension website.

Congress established FLEC through passage of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003.  The 2011 Vision of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy seeks “to foster a culture in which households take periodic stock of their financial situations, individuals seek information and ask questions before entering into financial transactions, and everyone has the information and tools needed to help manage debt, save to meet their financial goals, and plan for secure financial futures.” 

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future.  More information is available at www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).