USDA Expands Farm Bill Nutrition Goals

Ag Secretary Mike Johanns discusses farm bill nutrition proposals.

USDA Secretary Mike Johanns today expanded on the Administration's proposals for the 2007 Farm Bill.

The nutrition proposals would spend $467 million more than current programs. An additional $2.75 billion would be spent on the purchase of fruits and vegetables to improve nutrition in USDA food and nutrition programs.

"We recommend increasing program access for the working poor and elderly, moving America toward healthier eating habits, and making more effective use of taxpayer dollars," he says. "We will make certain our eligibility rules support both work and education wherever that is possible."

Some proposed changes include:

  • Increasing food stamp program participation by excluding education savings accounts, retirement savings accounts, and combat pay from eligibility determination for food stamps. USDA estimates this and other proposed reforms would generate an additional $1.38 billion in program spending over ten years.
  • Make the Emergency Food Assistance Program state plans permanent and remove barriers for local organizations to more effectively compete to participate in the program.
  • Support school efforts to provide meals based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Invest $6 million in mandatory funding to conduct a survey of foods purchased by school food authorities with Federal cash assistance once every 5 years.
  • Increase Section 32 spending on fruits and vegetables by $2.75 billion over 10 years.
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