Tuesday Morning - March 8, 2022

1 big thing: Raise your voice for school nutrition programs

SNA Action Network

What’s new: We need your help—to be the voice for school nutrition programs—as Congress and USDA consider existing and upcoming legislation and regulations.

1.      SNA is urging all members to  contact their legislators to urge support for  H.R. 6613Keeping School Meals Flexible Act.

Why it matters: This bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Jon Katko (R-NY), would allow the USDA to extend critical pandemic-related child nutrition waivers through School Year (SY) 2022-23. 

 The bottom line: Without USDA authority to extend the waivers, they will expire in June 2022.

2.      Submit your comments on the USDA Final Rule establishing new, temporary milk, grain and sodium standards for SY2022-23 through SY2023-24.

What it matters: While the Final Rule sets nutrition standards through SY2023-24, USDA announced it intends to issue a Proposed Rule this fall that moves towards updating nutrition standards for the long term. 

What’s next: This is your chance to weigh in on nutrition standards that are sustainable for school nutrition programs so you can continue to serve meals that students will eat. Submit your comments.


2. 2022 Legislative Action Conference

LAC 2022

What’s new: Nearly 700 school nutrition professionals from across the country are participating in SNA’s 50th annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC).  

Why it matters: SNA members, allies and advocates are in the nation’s capital to build and grow relationships that will shape federal school nutrition programs.

Big picture: The conference theme “A New Era in School Nutrition” equals opportunities for change! Here’s a brief overview of what’s been happening at #LAC22:

  • On Sunday, LAC attendees participated in several breakout sessions such as “Triaging Difficult People” and “Making CEP Work for You.” SNA members also heard from keynote speaker, renowned political analyst, Amy Walter, and members of the Public Policy and Legislation Committee who discussed each point on the 2022 Position Paper.

  • On Monday, SNA members heard from USDA leadership including Cindy Long, Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service, on recent and upcoming regulatory updates.

  • Dr. Eileen O’Grady, nurse practitioner and wellness expert, provided timely guidance on choosing wellness in challenging times.

  • Third and closing general sessions focused on supply chain disruptions. The first panel provided actionable practical solutions for working around unpredictable product availability. The second panel, weighed in with a 360-view from distributor and manufacturer angles. Both sessions left members with take-home ideas for public policy and marketplace solutions that might get us back on track in 2022.

What’s next: Stay tuned to Tuesday Morning for more ways to keep advocacy efforts going strong from back home in your districts! And mark your calendars to join us next year for #LAC23, March 5-7, 2023.

3. USDA supply chain disruptions study

USDA Supply Chain

What’s new: The USDA conducted a survey of School Food Authorities (SFAs) operating during SY2021-22 regarding challenges with supply chain disruptions.

Big picture: The online survey, conducted from November 8-December 13, 2021, was distributed to all SFAs administering child nutrition programs across all 50 states and U.S. territories and received a response rate of 60 percent.

Why it matters: According to the survey, 90 percent of SFAs are using the Seamless Summer Option Waiver to serve meals in SY2021-22.

  • Ninety two percent of SFAs are experiencing challenges due to supply chain disruptions. Public, larger, and rural SFAs were more likely to report challenges. SFAs operating with the SSO waiver were less likely to report a deficit. About 71 percent of SFAs were at least breaking even financially, which is comparable to what SFAs reported in a typical year pre-pandemic (73 percent). Smaller SFAs were more likely to report a deficit.

  •  Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (73 percent) are experiencing staffing challenges. Smaller and private SFAs were less likely than larger and public SFAs to report staffing challenges.

 What’s next:  Read the full report.

4. State legislative update

Map of US

The Illinois House has passed legislation regarding procurement of food items. This measure exempts from contract bidding requirements contracts for goods, services, or management in the operation of a school's food service, including a school that participates in any USDA child nutrition programs. This bill was introduced by the Deputy Majority Leader/Speaker Pro Tempore, Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth.

South Carolina state Representative Patrick Haddon introduced a joint resolution to create the “Child Food and Nutrition Services Study Committee,” with the intention of making recommendations for transferring some federal child food and nutrition programs in the state to the Department of Agriculture. This measure was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

California State Senator Susan Rubio introduced a Concurrent Resolution to proclaim March 7 to March 11, 2022, as School Breakfast Week and recognize the importance of school nutrition programs and school nutrition staff in addressing the needs of the students. This measure was referred to the Committee on Rules. 

5. National School Breakfast Week (March 7-11, 2022)

National School Breakfast Week Poster

What’s new: It’s National School Breakfast Week (NSBW)!

Why it matters: Promote your super-powered school breakfast program to students, parents and stakeholders with SNA’s #NSBW22 theme “Take Off with School Breakfast.” Visit the Association’s  NSBW22 webpage for the toolkit, handouts, marketing and PR resources and much more!

  • Additionally, on March 9 at 3 pm ET, Team Nutrition will host “Meal Talk: School Breakfast” webinar. Register.

What’s next: Be sure to use your social media channels to share your #NSBW22 activities! Use the following hashtags: #NSBW22 #SchoolBreakfast #BreakfastHero, #Ready4Takeoff. School Nutrition magazine will be following these to collect creative and inspiring photos for our annual recap.

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