Tuesday Morning - November 22, 2016

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

SNA Leaders Meet with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair On CNR
Updates on Appropriations and CNR 
Nominations for Consideration of USDA Appointees
Michael Torrey Steps Down from Trump’s Agriculture Transition Team
Guide for Selecting an Online Application for Free and Reduced School Meals
Scholarship Available for National CACFP Sponsors Association Conference  

State Snapshots

Georgia Recognizes Valdosta City Schools for Creative Nutrition Program Training
Tennessee Expands After-School Meal Program  

Mark Your Calendars

SNA Webinars
FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Calls  


Federal Policy

SNA Leaders Meet with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Roberts On CNR

SNA representatives met with the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair to discuss the status of Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) in the current 114th Congress. They also discussed how the Association could chart a course to work together to identify opportunities for moving forward with the new Trump Administration and new 115th Congress. Present at the meeting were, SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, SNA Public Policy & Legislation (PPL) Committee Chair Doug Davis, SNA Chief Executive Officer Patricia Montague, SNA-KS Public Policy & Legislation (PPL) Chair Cindy Jones, Cathy Schuchart, SNA SVP Government Affairs and Media Relations, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS).

SNA Leaders Meet with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Roberts On Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Chairman Roberts thanked SNA for its continued assistance to “carry the banner as we try to get across the finish line” with Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Although the Chairman noted they are still working to get Child Nutrition Reauthorization addressed during the remaining days of the lame duck, he stated that he is committed to helping SNA during the next Administration and with the soon-to-be-named U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary on seeking solutions to ensure strong child nutrition programs.

On the issue of sodium, SNA President Domokos-Bays shared her concerns about the upcoming implementation date of the Target 2 sodium reductions and how this continues to be a priority issue of the Association. Sen. Roberts understood and responded by stating “we need a permanent fix.”

The group also discussed Block Grants and the danger these could cause if enacted. Sen. Roberts understood SNA’s concerns and harkened back to the surfacing of Block Grants more than 25 years ago under the Contract with America. He stated “we were successful then, against some pretty tough odds.”

SNA-KS PPL Chair Cindy Jones and SNA PPL Chair Doug Davis shared their concerns on the financial aspects of the Block Grant issue, as well as the importance of maintaining a strong nutritional safety net for America’s students.

The lame duck session is scheduled to conclude by mid-December. SNA’s Public Policy & Legislation Committee will be meeting on February 15-16, 2017, to draft the Association’s 2017 Position Paper.

Updates on Appropriations and CNR

Based on various contacts with Committee staff and other reports, it now appears most likely that the Congress will take up a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through March 31, 2017. This means that the next Congress and the new Trump Administration will be able to provide their revised priorities for the balance of the current fiscal year, along with a new budget request for FY 2018 sometime between mid-February and mid-March.

Should this second CR move ahead, the feeling is that the Congress is likely to adjourn for the year earlier than the previously announced December 15th adjournment. While there is still some hope of getting Child Nutrition Reauthorization completed, the practical view is that it will be unlikely that the bill will be completed this year, again in part because some believe that the next Congress and the new Administration may be more amenable to more reforms in these programs, e.g. limitations and perhaps Block Grants.

Congress will be in recess for Thanksgiving week, so little is expected to be announced before then.

Nominations for Consideration of USDA Appointees

As the Trump Administration develops, SNA will be putting forth names for consideration. An opportunity now exists for you to play a role in this very important process.

In October, the Public Policy & Legislation Committee (PPL), under the direction of the SNA Board of Directors, voted to create an Ad Hoc Committee to identify, select, and nominate individuals for consideration by President-elect Trump as appointees to USDA. This Committee will be making nominations for four high-level positions within the USDA. Those positions are Under Secretary, Deputy Under Secretary, FNS Administrator and FNS Associate Administrator.

Read more details on the process, including how to submit your application.

Michael Torrey Steps Down from Trump’s Agriculture Transition Team

Up until Friday, Michael Torrey was in charge of leading Trump’s agriculture transition team. Torrey is a well-known lobbyist in D.C who is founder of the agriculture-focused government relations firm Michael Torrey Associates and represents clients such as Little Caesars, the American Beverage Association, and the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau.

Torrey was assigned the position when Chris Christie was leading Trump’s transition team, but now that Vice President-elect Mike Pence has taken over and instituted a code of ethics that requires anyone working for the Administration to drop their lobbying registration, Torrey has decided to step down.

"I — along with the entire team at Michael Torrey Associates — remain committed to serving our clients with integrity," Torrey said. "I am very grateful to the transition effort to have been asked to provide counsel, and it has been an honor to do my small part during this critical time of transition for our nation."

The Trump Administration is expected to name his Department of Agriculture landing team this week.

Guide for Selecting an Online Application for Free and Reduced School Meals

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has released a guide for selecting an online application for free or reduced-price school meals. The guide focuses on choices for school districts to consider when providing a means for families to apply electronically for free or reduced-price meals. It includes practical tips, checklists, and questions to inform the decision-making process.

Scholarship Available for National CACFP Sponsors Association Conference

The National Child Nutrition Foundation is offering a scholarship for school districts for the 2017 National CACFP Sponsors Association Conference. With over 100 hours of workshops for the child nutrition community, you'll want to apply for the scholarship or register. We also know that after workshop education, networking is one of the most valued benefits of attending a national conference. Join over 1,400 of your colleagues from across the country in San Diego, Calif., April 18-20, 2017. The deadline is February 1, 2017.

State Snapshots

Georgia Recognizes Valdosta City Schools for Creative Nutrition Program Training

Valdosta City Schools received the Best Practice Award during Georgia SNA’s annual kick-off luncheon that is held for all school districts statewide. Valdosta City Schools Nutrition Program was recognized for its unique approach to training employees through the use of a computer lab. The training computer lab was set up in their central nutrition office from September 2015 to February 2016, and all nutrition office personnel, managers, kitchen staff, and employees in general were encouraged to use it throughout the year. Congratulations Valdosta City Schools!

Tennessee Expands After-School Meal Program

The Metro Nashville Public School District is offering an after-school supper program to 35 of its schools. The district has been participating in USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) since the 2015-16 school year, but have an opportunity to expand their supper program this year. Students who take part in any Metro School sponsored after-school program are eligible for supper, rather than a snack as was previously the case. In a district where over 73% of families qualify for free or reduced lunch, this program expansion is a huge relief for parents.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars.

Developing an Online School Meals Application
Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 2:00 pm EST
Learn key features to consider so that online applications can simplify the process for staff and families while reducing errors. Hear from a local school nutrition administrator about the benefits and challenges of online applications.
Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

Blend It, Flip It, Top It, Wrap It, Stuff It, Customize It: Six Flavorful Strategies For Increasing Vegetable Consumption
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 2:00 pm EST
Join Chef Matt Poling and #Social Media Guru Dayle Hayes to learn six successful strategies—beyond side dishes and salad bars—to serve more veggies in school meals.
Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

Training the Trainer: Practical Tips for Training Adult Learners
Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 2:00 pm EST
During this webinar, participants will discover how to improve their school nutrition training efforts by learning more about adult learning styles and gaining tips for engaging a training audience.
Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Calls

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is hosting a series of conference calls and webinars on summer, afterschool, and breakfast meal programs.

Food Policy Councils and the Summer Nutrition Programs
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 1:00 pm EST
With their understanding of food insecurity and the local nutrition landscape, Food Policy Councils are a great group to engage in summer meals advocacy and outreach. Join this call to hear about the exciting role that Food Policy Councils can play in expanding participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs.

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