Tuesday Morning - April 4, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Over 900 School Nutrition Professionals Head to Capitol Hill
Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s Nominee for Agriculture Secretary 
Full Steam Ahead for U.S. House Farm Bill Hearings
SNA Releases 2017 Little Big Fact Book
FRAC Report Shows CEP Growth

State Snapshots

New Mexico Unpaid Meals Bill

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
USDA Unpaid Meals Webinar
FRAC Meals Matter Calls

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Over 900 School Nutrition Professionals Head to Capitol Hill

Today, more than 900 school nutrition professionals are headed to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to protect and strengthen school meal programs for the more than 30 million students they serve every school day. The effort is part of SNA’s 45th annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC), April 2-4.

The conference culminates in Tuesday’s “Charge to the Hill,” where attendees will share with Congress their school districts' concerns regarding school nutrition programs. LAC attendees will meet with their House and Senate members to discuss SNA’s 2017 Position Paper , which calls on Congress to oppose school meal block grants, expand USDA Foods to support the School Breakfast Program, and provide practical flexibility under a few of the nutrition standards for school meals.

Last year’s House-proposed block grant threatened to slash funds for school nutrition, limit student access to healthy meals and abolish all federal school nutrition standards. “SNA members will send Congress a resounding message that block grants will harm students and cripple school meal programs, which ensure America’s children have the nutrition they need to succeed in school,” said SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS.

On Monday, LAC attendees from across the nation heard from Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and other Washington insiders on the impact of the new Congress and Administration on child nutrition programs. LAC attendees also participated in breakout and general sessions designed to share best practices for improving school nutrition programs.

Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s Nominee for Agriculture Secretary

Sonny Perdue enjoyed a friendly confirmation hearing on Thursday, March 23. On Thursday, March 30, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee approved his nomination to U.S. Agriculture Secretary by voice vote. Only one Senator, Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) opposed Perdue. In a statement issued after her vote, Gillibrand stated, “While Governor Perdue is a dedicated public servant, I’m worried about his record on nutrition assistance in Georgia.” Gov. Perdue still awaits confirmation by the full U.S. Senate.

Full Steam Ahead for U.S. House Farm Bill Hearings

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee is in the middle of a series of Farm Bill hearings covering areas of the 2018 Farm Bill such as The Future of SNAP, Commodity Policy, and Agriculture Research. The next full committee hearing, Agriculture and Tax Reform: Opportunities for Rural America, is scheduled for April 5th.

SNA Releases 2017 Little Big Fact Book

Whether you want to get a new employee up to speed, help explain school nutrition issues to your district’s superintendent, support legislative initiatives in your state house or take a refresher course yourself, SNA’s Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition offers everything you need to know about the fundamentals of school nutrition. Hot off the presses, the 2017 edition of Little Big is a comprehensive overview, overflowing with facts and figures about federal regulations, USDA Foods, school district demographics and the hottest topics being discussed today.

This 36-page resource is a must-have for anyone and everyone working in and with school nutrition programs, but it’s particularly useful for new foodservice directors and managers, school administrators, manufacturer marketing and sales teams, state and national legislators and media representatives. Purchase your copy today online for just $18 at www.schoolnutrition.org/bookstore.

FRAC Report Shows CEP Growth

According to a report put out by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), community eligibility has experienced significant growth in the 2016-17 school year. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) streamlines administrative requirements and allows high-needs schools that qualify to improve their nutrition programs There was an increase of 2,500 schools bringing the total number of schools participating in community eligibility to over 20,000 schools in 3,500 districts. These schools serve over 9.7 million children who now have access to two nutritious and healthy meals a day while at school, who can focus on their education and growth, rather than their hunger. View the full FRAC report.

State Snapshots

New Mexico Unpaid Meals Bill

The New Mexico state legislature has passed the unpaid meals bill, Hunger-free Students Bill of Rights Act. Senate Bill 374, outlines the rights and responsibilities of students and of schools participating in free or reduced meal programs. Regardless of whether a student has money to pay for a meal or carries an unpaid meal balance the school must provide a meal that meets USDA standards to any student that requests one. If an unpaid meals balance exceeds the amount of five meals, the school must take certain steps to notify the parents.

In addition, schools are required to provide an online application or a free printed meal application in every school enrollment packet. The meal applications must be in a language that all parents and guardians can understand and the school shall offer assistance if needed. Schools must also complete applications on behalf of any eligible student who has not submitted one.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

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

Potatoes: From Seeds to Your School Cafeteria
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Learn and identify the benefits of using potatoes and other vegetables in school meals. Walk away with new school recipes for fresh, frozen, and dehydrated potatoes. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Whole Grain Pasta Meals That Rock! Smart Practices For Preparing and Marketing School Meals that Kids will Love
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Today, more and more are finding delicious successes by first choosing better products and improving back-of-house cooking procedures. In this webinar, you’ll discover success stories straight from directors of districts big and small, and learn how to adapt them to your own. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Best of #SNIC17 3 of 4: Innovative Menu Planning
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Chef Sharon’s webinar from her action-packed General Session at this year's SNIC will wow you with ways to boost participation through new school meal recipes. She will focus on recipes that highlight ethnic, trendy and popular flavors in the food world right now. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility: Ensuring Successful Implementation and Expansion in the 2017-2018 School Year
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Over 20,000 schools have successfully implemented the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and are now offering breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. Join this webinar to learn about the many benefits of the provision and participation trends for this school year. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

USDA Unpaid Meals Webinar

SFA’s are required to have an unpaid meal policy in place by SY 2017-18. On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 2:30 pm EST, USDA will host the webinar about local charge policies. Entitled, Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Charge Policy Requirement , this webinar will include an overview of USDA’s work around unpaid meal charges, a detailed overview of local meal charge policies, and time for questions. Interaction and participation is encouraged during the webinar. USDA’s Unpaid Meal Charges Website houses their current resources, including guidance, handbooks, checklists, and a Q&A.

FRAC Meals Matter Calls

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) holds an ongoing series of conference calls to provide assistance on the operations of federal meal programs. Join the call on Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 1:00 pm EST, for Expanding Access in Rural and Tribal Areas , to hear how summer meal expansion efforts in rural and tribal areas require creative thinking and cultural competency in order to fill the hunger gap for low-income children. Learn how summer meal champions are coming together to support programming, transportation, and meal delivery in these areas.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to LAC: 0 Days!
Today, LAC attendees are charging the Hill to advocate on behalf of child nutrition programs! After two days of meetings, breakout sessions, presentations and general sessions, our members are armed with all the information and skills needed to have a productive and successful advocacy meeting with their representatives!

LAC Then & Now:
In 1996, ASFSA (SNA’s former name) revitalized its Congressional Action Network (CAN), which was established in the 1980s and designed to put an AFSA member in contact with the incumbent and challenger in every House, Senate or governor contest to educate them on child nutrition issues. Education about child nutrition programs was also a cornerstone of the 1997 Legislative Issue Paper, geared primarily toward the 200-plus new members elected to Congress in the 1994 and 1996 elections. This year, LAC, the Charge the Hill and the SNA Action Network provide SNA members with a great opportunity to educate Congressional members about child nutrition programs!

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