Every year the Public Policy & Legislation (PPL) Committee meets to draft a Position Paper for the new year. The meeting takes place over two days and during that time, the Committee discusses various topics, legislation, and regulations that have impacted child nutrition programs, as well as issues that have occurred.
Former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has publicly stated his support of Sonny Perdue, Former Governor of Georgia, to serve as his successor.
“I have had the opportunity to work with Gov. Perdue and know how committed he is to all of our farmers, ranchers and producers, regardless of size or production method," Vilsack said in a written statement. "As a former governor, he knows full well the opportunities and challenges that exist in rural communities. He will, I am sure, work hard to expand opportunity in rural America."
1-19-2017 The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) issued the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“School Nutrition Association looks forward to working with Gov. Perdue to support school meal programs in their mission to expand access to healthy, appealing meals that support student success,” said SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS. “School nutrition professionals are committed to continually improving the nutrition and quality of school meals and promoting healthier lifestyles for students. If confirmed, we are hopeful Gov. Perdue will work to strengthen school meal programs and help ease funding and regulatory challenges.”
1-19-2017 On January 18, 2017, SNA representatives met with U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to discuss the future of child nutrition programs. Present at the meeting were SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, SNA Public Policy & Legislation (PPL) Committee Chair Doug Davis, SNA At-Large Member and Michigan constituent Lori Adkins, SNA Chief Executive Officer Patricia Montague and Cathy Schuchart, SNA SVP Government Affairs and Media Relations.
Senator Stabenow kicked off the meeting by thanking SNA, noting that “what you do for kids is really important.” The group discussed how the Association could work together with the new Trump Administration and new 115th Congress to address issues related to Child Nutrition Reauthorization and to avoid the Block Grant threat that resurfaced as a major issue during the last Congress. Stabenow noted her opposition to block granting child nutrition programs and added that “to the extent I have any tools to stop it, I will.”
A discussion was also held on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which is set to expire in 2018. Both House and Senate Agriculture Committees are beginning to chart their respective courses by gathering constituent input, starting with national “Listening Sessions” scheduled for early spring. SNA reiterated its long time support to obtain funding for Breakfast Commodities and is looking to Ranking Member Stabenow and Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) for their support. SNA also discussed the importance of summer feeding and the need to expand the program.
All these issues will be covered in greater detail as part of SNA’s 45th Legislative Action Conference (LAC), held in Washington, D.C., in early April. Early bird registration rates apply until February 24. SNA members should stay tuned for details on a late-February webinar on LAC programs and opportunities.
Also, SNA members will soon receive an email survey seeking input on issues related to child nutrition operations. All members are strongly encouraged to complete the survey, which will be reviewed and discussed with the SNA Executive Committee and PPL Committee, which meets in February to draft the Association’s 2017 Position Paper.
1-17-2017 On January 10, 2017, SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS, participated in a public workshop hosted by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee to Review the Process to Update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Domokos-Bays was invited to discuss the implementation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) and challenges school foodservice directors face as they develop their menus and programs to align with the DGAs. Some of her comments included:
“School nutrition professionals have a unique perspective to offer – we are on the forefront of the effort to turn these Dietary Guidelines into lifelong dietary habits for future generations.”
“School nutrition professionals are proud to work alongside the DGA Committee, health and nutrition groups, parents and other advocates in promoting healthy lifestyles for children. As we all work together to achieve this goal, we want to avoid having the quest for the perfect diet become a roadblock to progress in improving our children’s dietary choices.”
You can read Domokos-Bays’ full comments here.
For more information on the workshop, view the full agenda or visit The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s website.