Proposed USDA Budget Includes Equipment Grants


On Monday, February 2, the President released his proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year. Included in the budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are the funds to run the child nutrition programs, continue implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and an additional $35 million for cafeteria equipment grants. This is a $10 million increase from the 2015 budget. More information on the 2016 Budget Request can be found here. Recently, SNA co-signed a letter requesting a level playing field for schools applying for the 2015 equipment grants.

The budget request that will impact school nutrition programs includes:

  • Child Nutrition Programs: As mandatory entitlement programs, funding is provided for the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program to meet caseload and serve all eligible participants. These programs are expected to cost $21.475 billion in FY2016 and serve 5.38 billion lunches and snacks, 2.5 billion breakfasts in schools, 2.04 billion meals in child and adult care centers, and 177.4 million meals through SFSP.
  • School Meal Equipment Grants – Requests $35 million, compared to the FY2015 funding level of $25 million. These grants may be used to help schools upgrade their kitchen equipment to serve healthier meals, improve food safety, and to help support the establishment, maintenance, or expansion of the school breakfast program.
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program – Requests $39 million, compared to the FY2015 funding level of $208 million. This program provides schools in low-income areas with fruits and vegetables.
  • Child Nutrition State Exchange – Includes a $2 million increase in funding to develop a framework for States to exchange information and resources to increase coordination among states.
  • Farm to School – Requests $8.3 million, with $3.3 million for the Farm to School Team and $5 million in Farm to School Grants.

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