Tuesday Morning - June 21, 2022

1 big thing—FY2023 House Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Illustration of tractors cutting a dollar sign shape into a field of wheat.

What’s new: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies passed, on a voice vote, a draft of its spending bill for fiscal year 2023.  

Why it matters: This bill proposes an allocation of $28.6 billion for child nutrition programs, a $1.7 billion increase above the FY2022 enacted level. This will support roughly 5.6 billion school lunches and snacks. It has also designated $40 million for school kitchen equipment grants, $10 million for school breakfast expansion grants and $12 million for farm to school grants. 

What’s next: The full committee will meet on Thursday to continue discussing this bill. It will likely be brought to the floor for a vote in July. 

2. U.S. House discusses urgency of waivers

School Girl Holding Lunch Tray

What’s new: Discussions regarding school nutrition program funding and challenges, and the upcoming expiration of waivers, continue in Congress. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) circulated a letter requesting colleagues sign to join them in urging swift action to prevent the expiration of child nutrition waivers.

💭 What they’re saying: At a June 14th House Agriculture Committee hearing, Rep. Spanberger stated, “…I have heard from communities, counties across Central Virginia, imploring us to extend these waivers … I urge my colleagues in the House and the Senate to heed the pleas from our local school districts and take up the bipartisan legislation, keeping school meals flexible act to extend these waivers.”

On the House floor on June 16th, Rep, Jim McGovern spoke about the rising food insecurity and the critical role of school nutrition programs in combating hunger. “We are about to reach a hunger cliff at the end of June…we can’t go back to the days when close to 13 million kids went to bed hungry every night in this country.”

What’s Next: The House Appropriations Committee and House Education and Labor Committee have scheduled two hearings pertaining to school nutrition programs.

Markup of the FY 2023 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Thursday, June 23, 2022, 10AM ET

Examining the Policies and Priorities of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Thursday, June 23, 2022, 10:15AM ET


3. Call for nominations for the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

DGA call for nominations

What’s new: The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) announced the public call for nominations to the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Committee’s evidence review will focus on diet and health outcomes across the lifespan, including the relationship between diet and risk of overweight and obesity with a new emphasis on weight loss and weight maintenance for adults. The Committee also will be asked to conduct its scientific review through a health equity lens. 

Go deeper: HHS and USDA are seeking scientists with expertise in nutrition and health who reflect the diversity of the United States population. Candidates should have an advanced degree in a nutrition or health-related field, with at least 10 years of experience in academia, research or as a practitioner or other health professional in a field related to one or more of the scientific topics to be examined.  

What’s next: Learn more about how HHS and USDA will select the Committee and how to submit a nomination at DietaryGuidelines.gov. Nominations will be accepted until July 15, 2022, at 11:59 pm ET.

4. FRAC’s Community Eligibility Report highlights value of healthy school meals for all

FRAC Community Eligibility Report cover

What’s new: The Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) Community Eligibility: The Key to Hunger-Free Schools, School Year 2021–2022 report found that 33,000 schools nationwide adopted the provision. 

Go deeper: The report reveals adoption of the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) remains strong, with 16.2 million students now attending schools that have adopted Community Eligibility. Virginia had the largest growth in the number of schools adopting CEP, increasing by 226 schools. Illinois and Washington followed in school adoption growth by 130 and 88 schools, respectively. Nationally, 74.3 percent of eligible schools participate in community eligibility.    

What’s next: Check out SNA’s on demand webinar, Make CEP Work For You! to learn how CEP strategies and best practices, such as grouping, can help you maximize opportunities for your program. 

5. GAO Pandemic Report

An exclamation point in a circle next to a checklist on a notebook page.

What’s new: A recent study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on pandemic learning reported obstacles for high-poverty students and English learners. Among these obstacles were disruption of school meals due to school buildings that were closed during the pandemic.  

Go deeper: When asked whether they had more students who lacked a school meal compared to a typical school year, teachers in a virtual environment with high-poverty students were about three to four times more likely than their peers to respond affirmatively.  

6. State legislative update

Map of US

Pennsylvania State Representative Dan Moul introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 1236, making changes to the eligibility, program and application evaluation requirements of the Farm to School Program. 

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