Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is urging Congress to pass the Child Nutrition Act before the end of the current fiscal year. Without passage funding for the school lunch program expires Sept. 30.
"If we succeed in passing this legislation it will be the first time since 1973 that Congress will increase the Federal reimbursement rate for school lunches," Merrigan said. "Everyone is concerned that they want higher quality school lunch; somehow we have to find the money to pay for it and we hope this legislation will do the job."
This bill includes a Farm-to-School provision that helps farmers sell produce to local schools. Merrigan says this commitment to local foods does not diminish the Administration's support for commodity production and that USDA is an "Everyday, Everyway" department that can do many things.
Congress returns to Washington from it's summer recess next Monday, Sept. 13.