USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced comprehensive outreach efforts are underway to assess damage and assist rural Midwest and Southern communities in the wake of recent deadly storms.

“These storms struck the very heart of rural America,” Vilsack said in a news release. “USDA regional and local staff members are on the front lines, have worked each day since the storms hit, and for many it’s personal: they live and work alongside the victims. I’ve directed our expertise and resources be put to the fullest possible use.”