Tuesday Morning - February 14, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

115th Congress Farm Bill Hearings
Sonny Perdue: Least Controversial Cabinet Nominee 
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Selection Process Gets Reviewed
Register Today for SNA’s Legislative Action Conference!
National School Breakfast Week Resources on SNA’s Website
An Account of School Lunch History and Heroics

State Snapshots

Hawaii Unpaid Meals Bill Gains Traction
Maryland Hearings: Eliminating Reduced Price and Securing CEP
Michigan Farm to School Field Trips
New Mexico Addresses Charter Schools

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Calls

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

115th Congress Farm Bill Hearings

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee have announced their first 2018 Farm Bill hearings of the 115th Congress.

  • The House Agriculture Committee will have its first hearing on February 15, 2017.
  • The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold their first hearing in Manhattan, Kan., on February 23, 2017. “It’s time to get to work on another Farm Bill, and we’re heading straight to the heartland to talk directly to producers,” said Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Sonny Perdue: Least Controversial Cabinet Nominee

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue enjoys endorsements from both sides of the aisle. Tom Vilsack, former Secretary of Agriculture, formally endorsed Sonny Perdue in late January. Dan Glickman, who served as Agriculture Secretary under Bill Clinton, described Perdue as a “talented politician. He seems capable.” Dan Glickamn and Sonny Perdue worked together at the Bipartisan Policy Center. (Hear more from Glickman at the “Fireside Chat” during SNA’s 2017 Legislative Action Conference)

Most recently, in a joint letter signed by over 660 “farmers, ranchers, hunters, forest owners, cooperatives, businesses, trade associations, and other segments of the agriculture, food and nutrition landscape and conservation community,” an appeal was made to expedite Sonny Perdues Senate confirmation hearing. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, met with Perdue last Thursday. She stated that she was reserving her endorsement until the committee receives Perdue’s ethics forms but that the meeting was “productive.” Though Perdue is the least contentious Trump cabinet pick, he does draw some ire for his perceived stance on climate change and deregulation.

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Selection Process Gets Reviewed

Every five years the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), a report that provides nutritional and dietary information with the intention of promoting health and preventing disease, gets updated by the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. The update process is overseen by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which is a federal committee made up of nationally recognized experts. After the 2015-20 DGA was published, some stakeholders were concerned about the advisory committee’s composition and membership selection processes, so Congress had The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine evaluate the entire process used to develop the DGA. As part of this evaluation, SNA’s President Becky Domkos-Bays was invited to provide her comments at a public workshop on Capitol Hill.

The first report titled, Optimizing the Process for Establishing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Selection Process, has been released. It recommends adding three new steps to the process:

  1. Employ a third party to review nominations for qualified candidates
  2. Select Provisional Committee
  3. Post Provisional Committee for public comment and review biases and conflicts of interest

These steps will help to improve the transparency of the DGA process, and enhance the trustworthiness of the DGA itself by making sure the composition of the committee is fair and as unbiased as possible. Read the full report highlights here.

Register Today for SNA’s Legislative Action Conference!

With a new president and a new Congress, SNA’s 45th Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C., will be more exciting and insightful this year than ever! Be sure to register now in order to take advantage of the early bird rates before it’s too late! And check out the What to Expect at LAC Webinar providing registrants with tips on making the most of the conference.

LAC offers a Pre-Conference Session, Breakout Sessions, General Sessions and a Fireside Chat with Washington Insiders to get you up to date on the school meal legislation and regulatory issues that affect you. Not only is LAC a great learning experience, but its “Charge the Hill” day allows members to use that knowledge and their own experiences to meet with their representatives and advocate for change.

LAC 2017 is packed with great speakers and events. Some of our panelists and guests include Dan Glickman, former USDA Secretary, Chuck Conner, former USDA Deputy Secretary, and Jon Meacham, noted author and historian who will be giving a keynote address at opening luncheon on the first day of the conference. LAC is an event you do not want to miss, so go to www.schoolnutrition.org/lac to learn more and register today.

National School Breakfast Week Resources on SNA’s Website

National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) is March 6-10, 2017, and this year’s theme is, “Take the School Breakfast Challenge,” which encourages parents, students and school officials to start their morning with a healthy breakfast. SNA has several resources available on their website to help enhance your school’s celebration and make it as successful as possible. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/nsbw to get access to these resources, such as the NSBW 2017 toolkit, activity sheets for kids, and press release templates. The goal of the week is to bring attention to and increase participation in the school breakfast program, so get started on planning your campaign!

An Account of School Lunch History and Heroics

In this honest and thorough article centered around a school district in West Virginia, the Huffington Post details the lengths taken by school nutrition operators to provide our most vulnerable population with appealing and healthful meals.

Rhonda McCoy, Cabell County’s Food Service Director and her colleagues in West Virginia, are profiled as silent heroes representing many others like them doing similar work around the country. The article dives into the decades long push and pull of improving nutrition and palatability with meager and often unpredictable funding. These school nutrition directors, cafeteria managers, employees and cooks stretch a dollar without sacrificing quality by getting creative and going above and beyond. Read the full article here.

State Snapshots

Hawaii Unpaid Meals Bill Gains Traction

SB 423, companion to HB 992, was discussed in a public hearing of the Hawaii Senate Committee on Education on February 10th. SB 423 and HB 992 would prohibit denying a free/reduced category student a meal for the first 30 days of the school year or the first week that the student carries an unpaid meal balance. The bill also authorizes the Department of Education to adopt rules or policies on the collection of funds for negative student meal balances.

Maryland Hearings: Eliminating Reduced Price and Securing CEP

SB 361, companion to HB 288, is scheduled for a hearing in the Maryland Budget and Taxation Committee on February 22nd. These bills would eliminate the reduced price category for breakfast and lunch.

SB 361, companion to HB 287, is also scheduled for a hearing in the Maryland Budget and Taxation Committee on February 22nd. These bills would allow schools to continue to use the federal funding available through CEP without fear of losing state education funding.

Michigan Farm to School Field Trips

SB 99 was introduced on February 2nd and encourages a model farm-to-school field trip program geared toward providing children with hands-on learning experiences on local farms.

New Mexico Addresses Charter Schools

In response to increased discussion surrounding Charter Schools, New Mexico has introduced SB 346. The bill requires Charter Schools to determine eligibility for and implement free and reduced price school meal programs.

SM 52 was also recently introduced as a memorial declaring February 20, 2017, “School Nutrition Day.”

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.

5 Ways to Capture the Minds & Taste Buds of Your Students
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Learn more about your students and their taste preferences, improve your social savvy and ensure your district is making the most of your USDA Foods dollars. Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

What to Expect at LAC
Thursday, February 23, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Come gain insider insights into SNA’s upcoming 2017 Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in order to make the most of your time in the nation’s capital! No CEUs are offered for this webinar.

Best of #SNIC17 2 of 3: Kellogg’s Innovative Solution
Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
With increased pressure to serve less processed foods, this webinar will provide insight to food production from farm to bowl and its impact on the nutrition quality. Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

Ask the Allergist
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Registration and more details coming soon!

Schools as Nutrition Hubs
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Registration and more details coming soon!

FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Calls

The Food Research & Action Center's (FRAC) Meals Matter conference calls assist school meal operators in expanding their programs.

New CACFP Meal Standards and the Afterschool Meal Program
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 1:00 pm EST
USDA recently issued rules updating the nutrition standards for meals served through CACFP. Afterschool programs providing meals through CACFP must have the new meal pattern in place by October 1, 2017 – but programs shouldn’t wait until then to start making healthy changes! Join this call to understand and plan for the new meal pattern and identify supporting nutrition enrichment activities to empower families, support staff and engage children.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to LAC: 47 days!
The last day of LAC 2017 is dedicated to “Charging the Hill.” During this day, SNA members, armed with SNA’s 2017 Position Paper, will meet with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss child nutrition and push for policy change. It’s an exciting day dedicated to advocating for school nutrition programs that affect over 30 million children every day. State delegations are responsible for arranging their own meetings, so make sure yours are set up! And don’t forget to visit www.schoolnutrition.org/lac to register.

Speaking of the Hill...
On December 9, 1825, the Senate Committee on Agriculture was established. Agriculture issues were originally addressed within the Committee on Commerce and Manufacturing, but the need for a separate committee became apparent due to controversy over the issue of tariffs. Today, the committee is titled the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and has 21 members, and the Chairman is Senator Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas.

Sneak peek for next week: What year did the technological revolution begin in the United States?

LAC Then & Now:
Back in 1992, the theme LAC that year was, “Universal Vision – America’s Children Ready to Learn.” The goal of universal school meals is to make school lunch and breakfast available at no charge to all students, while also reducing costs associated with determining eligibility and eliminating the negative stigma attached to participating in school meal programs. Though the concept of universal school meals has still not been adopted, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) that was in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without the burden of collecting household applications.

SNA's Legislative Action Conference (LAC) Then & Now

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