Academy Submits Testimony for Fiscal Year 2019 USDA Funding

04/12/2018 - The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics submitted testimony to both of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies requesting Fiscal Year 2019 funding for federal nutrition programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers programs that have a significant impact on the health and nutrition of Americans. Investing in these programs is important for the vitality of our nation.


Senate

Testimony of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Submitted for the record to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Concerning the United States Department of Agriculture
March 30, 2018

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is pleased to provide the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies with a statement for the record on Fiscal Year 2019 funding levels for federal nutrition programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA administers programs that have a significant impact on the health and nutrition of Americans. Investing in these programs is important for the vitality of our nation. The Academy would also like to express our deep concerns with the president's FY 2019 budget that proposed to cut or eliminate funding for, or otherwise make harmful changes to numerous nutrition programs. Many Americans who rely on these important food and nutrition programs would be significantly impacted by this proposal.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children

Academy's FY 2019 WIC request: $6.36 billion and $250 million in contingency funds

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children serves low-income women and young children until the age of five, providing them with a nutritious monthly food package, nutrition education, health care and social service referrals to ensure that this population receives quality nutrition and health care essential for healthy growth and development. For FY 2019, we recommend a total of $6.36 billion to support a caseload of over 7.5 million people and $250 million in contingency funds for unforeseen food cost or participation increases. Additionally, we recommend a set aside for the following components within WIC:

  • $90 million for breastfeeding peer counselors to ensure mothers have access to breastfeeding support.
  • $25 million for research and evaluation to build on program innovations and effectiveness.
  • $15 million for local WIC agencies to improve community settings where WIC participants live.
  • $14 million for infrastructure improvements for states agencies to improve efficiency, strengthen program integrity, enhance food delivery systems and facility repairs.
  • $5 million to raise awareness about maternal and infant mortality.

Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Research

Academy's FY 2019 AFRI request: $525 million

The 2008 farm bill authorized the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative at $700 million. While funding for the AFRI has increased over the years, the initiative has not reached the full authorization level. Increased funding would allow for additional advancements in applied research and breakthroughs in fields relevant to agriculture and applied projects that address specific food, nutrition and agriculture problems, needs and opportunities. These research efforts work with local communities and states to conduct high-quality research to help assure that our food supply is adequate for the future. We recommend incremental increases to reach the authorized level by no later than FY 2023.

Academy's FY 2019 ARS request: $1.35 billion

Agricultural Research Services is an essential in-house, scientific research agency. This agency conducts research and develops solutions to food and nutrition problems that affect Americans every day, from field to table. Over the last decade, investments in ARS have been stagnant, which makes it exceedingly difficult for our nation’s premier agriculture research programs to keep pace with emerging issues, global competition and innovations. Similarly, ARS Human Nutrition Research Centers have been flat funded for several years. Food and nutrition play a central role in our health. Given the high rates of diet-related diseases and conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, more research is needed to explore the relationship of nutrition and health. Increased funding will allow the centers to expand research and pave the way for new discoveries. We therefore urge Congress to encourage ARS to prioritize human nutrition research.

Child Nutrition Programs

Academy's FY 2019 Team Nutrition request: $25 million
Academy's FY 2019 School Kitchen Equipment Grants request: $35 million
Academy's FY 2019 Summer EBT Demonstration request: $33 million

Child nutrition programs operate in school, daycare, after school and summer settings, providing nutritious meals and snacks to fuel children with the energy they need to thrive in the classroom and beyond. We ask that you support the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to provide children with nutritious meals and snacks; and provide adequate funding for training and technical assistance to states for successful implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. This can be accomplished by:

  • Providing $25 million for the Team Nutrition program. Team Nutrition is the primary resource for supporting healthy eating and physical activity by improving nutrition practice in Child Nutrition Programs. Team Nutrition provides resources to schools, child care settings and summer meal sites to successfully implement the new, healthier meal patterns.
  • Providing $35 million for School Kitchen Equipment Grants. This will allow schools to serve healthier meals at a more reasonable price and modernize outdated kitchen equipment that hinders schools’ ability to adapt to the preferences and dietary needs of today's students.
  • Providing $33 million for Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Demonstration Projects to continue expanding the program to ensure that children have access to healthy foods in the summer months.

Commodity Assistance Programs

Academy's FY 2019 TEFAP Storage and Distribution Funds request: $100 million

The Emergency Food Assistance Program supports farmers, producers, processors and low-income consumers assuring access to healthy foods through our nation's charitable food system, delivering nutrient-rich food through pantries, shelters and kitchens, and providing support for storage and distribution. TEFAP program staff works in tandem with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education. The nutrition education which SNAP-Ed provides helps encourage participants to prepare healthy meals and safely store food. To help defray the costs associated with distributing TEFAP commodities, we ask that you provide $100 million for TEFAP Storage and Distribution.

Academy's FY 2019 CSFP request: $250 million

Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides a nutritious monthly food package to more than 700,000 low-income seniors living at or below the poverty line. The CSFP food package is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of this target population, combating the poor health conditions often found in food insecure seniors. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia are scheduled to participate in CSFP in 2018. To support the program in all 50 states and meet the needs of a growing senior population, we ask that you provide $250 million for CSFP.

Food Supply Chain

Academy's FY 2019 WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program request: $18.5 million

To support local farmers while improving the health of Americans, we ask that you provide $18.5 million to maintain the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which provides vouchers to WIC participants for fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Academy's FY 2019 HFFI request: $25 million

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative stimulates economic development, creates jobs and improves health in low-income, underserved communities and communities of color in urban and rural areas by supporting farmers and healthy food retailers. We ask that you provide $25 million for HFFI to support projects that increase access to nutritious, affordable food in these rural and urban communities.

Developing Leaders

Academy's FY 2019 Congressional Hunger Center Fellows Program request: $2 million

To ensure a pipeline of leaders dedicated to improving health and reducing hunger in our country, we ask that you provide $2 million for the Congressional Hunger Center for the operation of the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowships and Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellowships, which help develop solutions to hunger based on experience at local field placements and national policy organizations.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps to put food on the table for more than 41 million people each month. SNAP participation is responsive to changes in need due to economic downturns or natural disasters. We call on Congress to protect SNAP from harmful policy proposals that would change its structure or cut its funding, including any changes to SNAP-Ed. SNAP-Ed empowers participants to make healthy food choices using this knowledge received from the innovative and engaging nutrition education to purchase, prepare and store nutritious foods. SNAP-Ed is targeted to fit the local communities it serves in all 50 states and territories, and outcomes include sustained behavior change towards healthier habits. We urge you to protect the mandatory investments in this program.

Our nation's ability to conduct research and deliver solutions through innovative approaches and high-quality programs and services are essential for a healthy and thriving nation. We urge you to consider the central role of USDA's nutrition programs in strengthening the nation’s health and appreciate your support on these recommendations.

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House of Representatives

Testimony of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Prepared by Nicole Burda, Director, Legislative and Government Affairs
Submitted for the record to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Concerning the United States Department of Agriculture
April 6, 2018

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is pleased to provide a statement for the record on Fiscal Year 2019 funding levels for federal nutrition programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA administers programs that have a significant impact on the health and nutrition of Americans. Investing in these programs is important for the vitality of our nation.

The Academy is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and represents more than 100,000 credentialed professionals.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children

Academy's FY 2019 WIC request: $6.36 billion and $250 million in contingency funds

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children serves low-income women and young children until the age of five, providing them with a nutritious monthly food package, nutrition education, health care and social service referrals to ensure that this population receives quality nutrition and health care essential for healthy growth and development. For FY 2019, we recommend a total of $6.36 billion to support a caseload of over 7.5 million people and $250 million in contingency funds for unforeseen food cost or participation increases. Additionally, we recommend a set aside for the following components within WIC:

  • $90 million for breastfeeding peer counselors to ensure mothers have access to breastfeeding support.
  • $25 million for research and evaluation to build on program innovations and effectiveness.
  • $15 million for local WIC agencies to improve community settings where WIC participants live.
  • $14 million for infrastructure improvements for states agencies to improve efficiency, strengthen program integrity, enhance food delivery systems and facility repairs.
  • $5 million to raise awareness about maternal and infant mortality.

Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Research

Academy's FY 2019 AFRI request: $525 million

The 2008 farm bill authorized the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative at $700 million. While funding for the AFRI has increased over the years, the initiative has not reached the full authorization level. Increased funding would allow for additional advancements in applied research and breakthroughs in fields relevant to agriculture and applied projects that address specific food, nutrition and agriculture problems, needs and opportunities. These research efforts work with local communities and states to conduct high-quality research to help assure that our food supply is adequate for the future. We recommend incremental increases to reach the authorized level by no later than FY 2023.

Academy's FY 2019 ARS request: $1.35 billion

Agricultural Research Services is an essential in-house, scientific research agency. This agency conducts research and develops solutions to food and nutrition problems that affect Americans every day, from field to table. Over the last decade, investments in ARS have been stagnant, which makes it exceedingly difficult for our nation's premier agriculture research programs to keep pace with emerging issues, global competition and innovations. Similarly, ARS Human Nutrition Research Centers have been flat funded for several years. Food and nutrition play a central role in our health. Given the high rates of diet-related diseases and conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, more research is needed to explore the relationship of nutrition and health. Increased funding will allow the centers to expand research and pave the way for new discoveries. We therefore urge Congress to encourage ARS to prioritize human nutrition research.

Child Nutrition Programs

Academy's FY 2019 Team Nutrition request: $25 million
Academy's FY 2019 School Kitchen Equipment Grants request: $35 million
Academy's FY 2019 Summer EBT Demonstration request: $33 million

Child nutrition programs operate in school, daycare, after school and summer settings, providing nutritious meals and snacks to fuel children with the energy they need to thrive in the classroom and beyond. We ask that you support the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to provide children with nutritious meals and snacks; and provide adequate funding for training and technical assistance to states for successful implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. This can be accomplished by:

  • Providing $25 million for Team Nutrition, the primary resource for supporting healthy eating and physical activity by improving nutrition practice in Child Nutrition Programs. Team Nutrition provides resources to schools, child care settings and summer meal sites to successfully implement the new, healthier meal patterns.
  • Providing $35 million for School Kitchen Equipment Grants. This will allow schools to serve healthier meals at a more reasonable price and modernize outdated kitchen equipment that hinders schools’ ability to adapt to the preferences and dietary needs of today's students.
  • Providing $33 million for Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Demonstration Projects to continue expanding the program to ensure that children have access to healthy foods in the summer months.

Commodity Assistance Programs

Academy's FY 2019 TEFAP Storage and Distribution Funds request: $100 million

The Emergency Food Assistance Program supports farmers, producers, processors and low-income consumers assuring access to healthy foods through our nation’s charitable food system, delivering nutrient-rich food through pantries, shelters and kitchens, and providing support for storage and distribution. TEFAP program staff works in tandem with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education. The nutrition education which SNAP-Ed provides helps encourage participants to prepare healthy meals and safely store food. To help defray the costs associated with distributing TEFAP commodities, we ask that you provide $100 million for TEFAP Storage and Distribution.

Academy's FY 2019 CSFP request: $250 million

Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides a nutritious monthly food package to more than 700,000 low-income seniors living at or below the poverty line. The program is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of this target population, combating the poor health conditions often found in food insecure seniors. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia are scheduled to participate in CSFP in 2018. To support the program in all 50 states and meet the needs of a growing senior population, we ask that you provide $250 million for CSFP.

Food Supply Chain

Academy's FY 2019 WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program request: $18.5 million

To support local farmers while improving the health of Americans, we ask that you provide $18.5 million to maintain the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which provides vouchers to WIC participants for fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Academy's FY 2019 HFFI request: $25 million

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative stimulates economic development, creates jobs and improves health in low-income, underserved communities and communities of color in urban and rural areas by supporting farmers and healthy food retailers. We ask that you provide $25 million for HFFI to support projects that increase access to nutritious, affordable food in these rural and urban communities.

Developing Leaders

Academy's FY 2019 Congressional Hunger Center Fellows Program request: $2 million

To ensure a pipeline of leaders dedicated to improving health and reducing hunger in our country, we ask that you provide $2 million for the Congressional Hunger Center for the operation of the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowships and Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellowships, which help develop solutions to hunger based on experience at local field placements and national policy organizations.

Our nation's ability to conduct research and deliver solutions through innovative approaches and high-quality programs and services are essential for a healthy and thriving nation. We urge you to consider the central role of USDA's nutrition programs in strengthening the nation's health and appreciate your support on these recommendations.

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