Tuesday Morning - September 26, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Action Alert: Ask Your Members of Congress to Support School Breakfast Commodities!
SNA Submits Comment on Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives
Censky and McKinney Complete Senate Agriculture Confirmation Hearing
Free School Meals Extended to Areas Affected by Irma
National Survey of Children’s Health Finds Childhood Obesity Rates Holding Steady

State Snapshots

Oklahoma’s Education Plan Includes School Nutrition

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
SNF Breakfast Grant Webinar
USDA Foods Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Action Alert: Ask Your Members of Congress to Support School Breakfast Commodities!

Recently, Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced H.R. 3738, otherwise known as the Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act of 2017. The bill will provide an additional 6 cents in commodity support for every school breakfast served. It’s important for you to reach out to your Members of Congress to request their support on this bill, so that they know it is valuable to members of their constituency, and so they see the benefits it will serve their community. Use SNA’s Action Alert to send your message to your Representatives urging them to support the Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act of 2017, and support the School Breakfast Program!

SNA Submits Comment on Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives

SNA submitted a comment in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal Register Notice on July 17, 2017, Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives, which requested ideas from the public on how USDA can provide better customer service and remove unintended barriers to participation in their programs. SNA used the responses collected from the survey sent out about the topic to highlight priority areas where reforms should be directed. Those priority areas include ensuring that students from food insecure households are not “priced out” of the school nutrition programs due to paid lunch equity, streamlining the multiple program regulations for school districts operating multiple child nutrition programs, offering flexibility in the variety of fruits and vegetables being offered, and understanding the impact of Smart Snacks on fiscal sustainability. SNA will continue to provide feedback and raise additional ideas for change in order to promote healthy meals for our nations’ students.

Censky and McKinney Complete Senate Agriculture Confirmation Hearing

Steve Censky, who has been nominated as Deputy USDA Secretary, and Ted McKinney, who has been nominated as the USDA’s Undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, were both granted a brief and cordial hearing by the Senate Agriculture Committee. Censky outlined his top three priorities as diversification of markets, preparation for and adaption to changing weather and climate and the expansion of broadband to rural America. As Deputy USDA Secretary, Censky would oversee much of the day-to-day operations of the agency, the USDA budget and much of the implementation of the new farm bill. McKinney’s testimony focused on trade and NAFTA, as well as regulatory barriers that block US exports. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue was in attendance at the hearing supporting his two nominees, and issued a statement encouraging a speedy confirmation of them both. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry has not yet scheduled a committee vote to approve the nominees.

Free School Meals Extended to Areas Affected by Irma

Last week, USDA announced in a press release that all Florida students in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma will receive free school meals provided by the National School Lunch Program through October 20. Schools and facilities in these areas will also be granted flexibility in meeting menu planning and meal pattern requirements, as well as when kids can be fed. The new measures will potentially impact over 1,800 schools and 1.4 million children, and help to fight hunger during the natural disaster. Similar action was taken in Texas and Louisiana for those students that were affected by the earlier hurricanes.

National Survey of Children’s Health Finds Childhood Obesity Rates Holding Steady

The National Survey of Children’s Health was funded and analyzed by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and conducted by the Census Bureau. The survey’s new data found that about 3 out of 10, or 31.2%, of children ages 10-17 were either overweight or obese in 2016. "The data do indicate a consistent stabilization in national and state rates of childhood overweight and obesity over the last decade," the groups say, even though the data was last conducted between 2011-12, and the methods and sample size changed in 2016. The National Survey of Children’s Health is expected to be conducted every year from now on so that data comparisons can be more direct.

State Snapshots

Oklahoma’s Education Plan Includes School Nutrition

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all states are tasked with submitting a detailed plan on how their federal education dollars will be spent. The Oklahoma State Department of Education submitted their plan to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, September 18. Among other key initiatives, it includes increasing access to child nutrition by removing barriers to participation in food programs. The state’s target is to have 75 percent of eligible schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision. The plan also calls for a 30 percent increase in summer meals participation by 2025. The full plan is available to read on the Oklahoma State Department of Education website.

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.

Seafood: It's Time to Catch On!
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Join three K-12 Chef/RDNs for one hour of the school of fish as we share the nutritional benefits of seafood, recipe concepts for school meal programs and how to get the next generation of children eating Gen Z food. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Best of #ANC17 2 of 3: USDA Hot Topics: Flexibilities in the School Meal Programs
Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Register for this webinar to learn about recent changes to the school meal pattern requirement and other guidance as it relates to the school meal program. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility: Strategies to Improve Your ISP
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Register for this webinar to learn how to take the steps to improve your districts ISP and make community eligibility a more viable option. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

SNF Breakfast Grant Webinar

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is excited to share that there are still funds available for eligible districts to expand their grab ’n go and direct delivery to the classroom breakfast programs! Join the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom on Tuesday, October 10 from 2:00-3:30 pm ET for the webinar, “Funding Available for Grab N’ Go and Direct Delivery to the Classroom Breakfast Programs!” During this webinar, you will to hear from previously funded districts on how the grant funding helped support their universal free breakfast programs.

USDA Foods Webinars

An upcoming webinar in the “Demystifying USDA Food Complaints” series hosted by USDA.

Results and Resolutions of USDA Foods in Schools Complaints
1:00 PM ET on Thursday, September 28, 2017
The USDA Foods Complaint Team will present different scenarios as USDA Foods are transported from the vendor to its final destination: school kitchens. The intended audience is Distributing Agencies and Recipient Agencies for USDA Foods in schools, including SDAs as well as schools and warehouses. The USDA Foods Complaint Team’s goals are to provide responsive customer service, investigate and resolve complaints, as well as to provide guidance on how to handle USDA Foods.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

A Look at Agriculture Secretaries of the Past
Alphonso Michael Espy, known as Mike, was the first African American to serve as United States Secretary of Agriculture, and the first person appointed from the “Deep South.” Espy served under President Bill Clinton as the 25th Secretary of Agriculture from 1993-94. He previously served as a U.S. House Representative for Mississippi. Espy’s tenure as Secretary is most known for his indictment on charges of receiving improper gifts, which included sports tickets, lodging and airfare. In 1997 he was acquitted of all of the 30 criminal charges in the trial after he refused to plea bargain. During his time in office, Espy worked to improve diversity within USDA, as well as expanding foreign trade markets.

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