United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture known as the Agriculture Department, is the U. S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and internationally. 80% of the USDA's $141 billion budget goes to the Food and Nutrition Service program. The largest component of the FNS budget is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the cornerstone of USDA's nutrition assistance; the current Secretary of Agriculture is Sonny Perdue. Many of the programs concerned with the distribution of food and nutrition to people of America and providing nourishment as well as nutrition education to those in need are run and operated under the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Activities in this program include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides healthy food to over 40 million low-income and homeless people each month.
USDA is a member of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, where it is committed to working with other agencies to ensure these mainstream benefits are accessed by those experiencing homelessness. The USDA is concerned with assisting farmers and food producers with the sale of crops and food on both the domestic and world markets, it plays a role in overseas aid programs by providing surplus foods to developing countries. This aid can go through USAID, foreign governments, international bodies such as World Food Program, or approved nonprofits; the Agricultural Act of 1949, section 416 and Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 known as Food for Peace, provides the legal basis of such actions. The USDA is a partner of the World Cocoa Foundation. Early in its history, the economy of the United States was agrarian. Officials in the federal government had long sought new and improved varieties of seeds and animals for import into the United States. In 1837 Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, a Yale-educated attorney interested in improving agriculture, became Commissioner of Patents, a position within the Department of State.
He began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through members of the Congress and agricultural societies. In 1839, Congress established the Agricultural Division within the Patent Office and allotted $1,000 for "the collection of agricultural statistics and other agricultural purposes." Ellsworth's interest in aiding agriculture was evident in his annual reports that called for a public depository to preserve and distribute the new seeds and plants, a clerk to collect agricultural statistics, statewide reports about crops in different regions, the application of chemistry to agriculture. Ellsworth was called the "Father of the Department of Agriculture."In 1849, the Patent Office was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior. In the ensuing years, agitation for a separate bureau of agriculture within the department or a separate department devoted to agriculture kept recurring. On May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture to be headed by a commissioner without Cabinet status, the agriculturalist Isaac Newton was appointed to be the first such commissioner.
Lincoln called it the "people's department." In 1868, the Department moved into the new Department of Agriculture Building in Washington, D. C. designed by famed DC architect Adolf Cluss. Located on Reservation No.2 on the National Mall between 12th Street and 14th SW, the Department had offices for its staff and the entire width of the Mall up to B Street NW to plant and experiment with plants. In the 1880s, varied advocacy groups were lobbying for Cabinet representation. Business interests sought a Department of Commerce and Industry, farmers tried to raise the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet rank. In 1887, the House of Representatives and Senate passed bills giving Cabinet status to the Department of Agriculture and Labor, but the bill was defeated in conference committee after farm interests objected to the addition of labor. On February 9, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law elevating the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet level. In 1887, the Hatch Act provided for the federal funding of agricultural experiment stations in each state.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 funded cooperative extension services in each state to teach agriculture, home economics, other subjects to the public. With these and similar provisions, the USDA reached out to every county of every state. During the Great Depression, farming remained a common way of life for millions of Americans; the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Home Economics, established in 1923, published shopping advice and recipes to stretch family budgets and make food go farther. USDA helped ensure that food continued to be produced and distributed to those who needed it, assisted with loans for small landowners, contributed to the education of the rural youth, it was revealed on August 27th, 2018 that the U. S. Department of Agriculture would be providing U. S. farmers with a farm aid package, which will total $4.7 billion in direct payments to American farmers. This package is meant to offset the losses farmers are expected to incur from retaliatory tariffs placed on American exports during the Trump tariffs.
The Department of Agriculture was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 of $139.7 billion. The budget authorization is broken down as follows: Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Animal Damage Control (
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children is a federal assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture for healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children under the age of five. Their mission is to be a partner with other services that are key to childhood and family well-being The basic eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the federal poverty level. Most states allow automatic income eligibility, where a person or family participating in certain benefits programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, may automatically meet the income eligibility requirements. WIC serves 53 percent of all infants born in the United States. An amendment to section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 on September 26, 1972; the legislation established the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women and Children as a two-year pilot program.
Eligibility was excluded non-breastfeeding postpartum women. By the end of 1974, WIC was operating in 45 states. On October 7, 1975, WIC was established as a permanent program. Eligibility was extended to non-breastfeeding children up to 5 years of age. However, all participants must be deemed to be with inadequate income. In 1978, P. L. 95-627 defined nutrition risk and established income eligibility standards that were linked to the income standards associated with reduced price school meals. Another income standard change took place in 1989, when P. L. 101-147 established similar income eligibility for Food Stamp, AFDC participation, thus lowering the WIC income standard and simplifying the application process. WIC began to promote and support breastfeeding women in the late 1980s, in 1989 Congress mandated $8 million be used for that purpose. In 1999, the WIC program standardized nutrition risk criteria for program eligibility and began assigning individual nutrition risk priority levels. In December 2000, the White House issued an executive memorandum authorizing the WIC program to begin screening clients for childhood immunization status.
The motivation for this was the fact that WIC had the access to the greatest number of low-income children and thus had the greatest potential for helping immunization rates. They directed that immunization screening and referral become a standard part of WIC certification, it mentioned that the new WIC minimum immunization screening and referral is only for use in the WIC program. Across WIC programs, it has become standardized as an accurate and appropriate screening and referral process. WIC state and local agencies must coordinate with the providers of immunization screening. In 2004, the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Initiative was launched in which women with breastfeeding experience became counselors for women learning how to breastfeed. Five years in 2009, the USDA introduced a new food package with foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as well as establish dietary recommendations for young children. In addition, mothers who breastfeed receive more healthy foods. Applicants to the WIC program must meet eligibility requirements in four areas: categorical, residential and nutrition risk.
The categorical requirement means that each participant must fall into one of three major categories: Women: Pregnant Postpartum Breastfeeding Infants up to their first birthday Children up to the fifth birthdayIncome To be eligible on the basis of income, applicants' gross income must fall at or below 185 percent of the U. S. Poverty Income Guidelines. State income falls between 100 percent and 185 percent of federal poverty guidelines, though most states use the maximum guideline; this is $45k annually for a family in the 48 contiguous since 2016. Residential Must be a resident of the state. Nutrition risk Must have a nutritional risk assessment by a qualified health professional; the Nutritional evaluation is based on height and growth assessment. Once applicants meet the eligibility requirements, they can expect to receive WIC assistance in the following four areas: Supplemental food Food checks or an EBT card are issued to program participants that allow them to buy nutritious food that meets their needs at stores that have contracted with the government to accept these checks in exchange for merchandise.
Formula WIC Laws and Regulations state, infant formula can only be changed from a non-contracted brand by medical documentation. It should be noted that the formula vouchers provided to the participant are not selected based upon nutritional or health benefits but upon lowest bidder status: "Competitive bidding means a procurement process under which FNS or the state agency select
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program began in 1968. It was an amendment to the National School Lunch Act. Today, the SFSP is the largest federal resource available for local sponsors who want to combine a child nutrition program with a summer activity program. Sponsors can be public or private groups, such as non-profit organizations, government entities, churches and camps; the government reimburses sponsors for the food at a set rate. There are still communities. For those individuals that want to help ensure children have meals during the summer, they can get more information from the USDA or their state government agencies. During the school year a large number of children in the United States receive free and reduced-lunches through their school lunch programs. However, when the school year ends food insecurity becomes prevalent amongst school-aged children; the Summer Food Service Program helps alleviate the nutritional gap and makes meals accessible to all children less than 18 years of age. The history of school lunch policies and politics took many years to come to fruition.
Like any other policy created, this is a complex web of details pieced together by individuals with a plethora of different interests. "One set of major players includes nutrition reformers – education and key welfare professionals women – who struggled mightily to translate nutrition science into public policy. Another set of player includes farm-bloc legislators and Department of Agriculture officials who created the institutional infrastructure for a national school lunch program; these groups, together with political leaders responding to the demands and interests of their constituents as well as to the popular appeal of children’s health, shaped national food and nutrition policies."At the forefront of the National School Lunch Act is its namesake – Richard Russell, Jr.. At the time Russell was a senator from Georgia, concerned with the small town farmer and had a sincere passion for agriculture. Additionally, Russell was committed to matters of national defense, as he served as chair of the Armed Services Committee for sixteen years.
In order to insure a powerful national defense, Russell understood it would begin with strong, healthy children. Russell seized the opportunity to improve national defense and support agriculture by authoring the nation’s most popular social welfare program. School lunch politics were not created to ensure that America’s children receive healthy and nutritious meals. School lunch policies have to do with agriculture and farmers. "School lunch is rooted in the science of nutrition and ideas about healthy diets, but those ideas have never been sufficient on their own to shape public policy. School lunch, like other aspects of public policy, has been shaped by the larger forces of politics and power in American history." The relationship between hungry children and struggling farmers began during the Great Depression. Farmers were producing abundant crops. Men and women could not come up with the money to feed their families; some items are brought to the policy agenda by events that demand immediate attention.
Faced with struggling farmers and hungry children, the federal government began providing funding in 1935 to purchase farm products to provide school lunches. The National School Lunch Program did resemble what many had hoped it would. In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century the science of nutrition was struggling to find its place in American culture; the general public did not broadly accept the importance of healthy living. However, the economic depression and the New Deal became an opportunity for nutrition reformers to shape food and nutrition policy. "In fact, the National School Lunch Program created in 1946 bore only slight resemblance to the goals of nutrition scientists and home economists. The program was, in its goals and administration, more a subsidy for agriculture than a nutrition program for children. Indeed, the political will to forge a national school lunch program came not from the New Deal social welfare coalition but rather from the Department of Agriculture and a group of southern Democratic legislators who opposed federal social programs."In 1942 Congress was creating their budget, but because of World War II federal money for welfare programs were threatened.
It was that Senator Russell and individuals, such as, George R. Chatfield started rallying their troops and “launched an effort to save the school lunch program”; the school lunch coalition proved remarkably effective. Unwilling to appear unsympathetic to children’s health as the nation was mobilizing for war, congress voted to continue appropriations for school lunches. Indeed, by an overwhelming margin, Congress increased the appropriation. In 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act, Public Law 396. According to the School Nutrition Association: The legislation came in response to claims that many American men had been rejected from World War II military service because of diet-related health problems; the federally assisted meal program was established as a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and encourage domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities. President Truman explained in his statement upon signing the NSLA, that “in the long view, no nation is any healthier than its children or more prosperous than its farmers.
National School Lunch Act
The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act is a United States federal law that created the National School Lunch Program to provide low-cost or free school lunch meals to qualified students through subsidies to schools; the program was established as a way to prop up food prices by absorbing farm surpluses, while at the same time providing food to school age children. It was named after Richard Russell, Jr. signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, entered the federal government into schools dietary programs on June 4, 1946; the majority of the support provided to schools participating in the program comes in the form of a cash reimbursement for each meal served. Schools are entitled to receive commodity foods and additional commodities as they are available from surplus agricultural stocks; the National School Lunch Program serves 30.5 million children each day at a cost of $8.7 billion for fiscal year 2007. Most participants are eligible for food during the summer through the Summer Food Service Program.
School feeding in the United States underwent the same evolution as in Europe, beginning with sporadic food services undertaken by private societies and associations interested in child welfare and education. The Children's Aid Society of New York initiated a program in 1853, serving meals to students attending the vocational school. In 1894, the Starr Center Association in Philadelphia began serving penny lunches in one school expanding the service to another. Soon a lunch committee was established within the Home and School League, lunches were extended to include nine schools in the city. In 1909, Dr. Cheesman A. Herrick, principal of the William Penn High School for Girls was credited with accomplishing the transfer of responsibilities for operation and support of the lunch program from charitable organizations to the Philadelphia School Board, he requested that a system be established to assure that the lunches served would be based upon sound principles of nutrition and required that the program be under the direction of a home economics graduate.
The Board granted his request on an experimental basis and on the condition that the program would be self-supporting. The experiment proved successful, the following year lunch services were extended to the Southern Manual Training School and to three additional units. In the spring of 1912, the School Board established a Department of High School Lunches and directed that the food services be inaugurated in all the high schools of the city. During all this time the Home and School League had continued operating the feeding program in the nine elementary schools, continued to do so until May 1915, when it reported to the Board that the need for a lunch system had been demonstrated and that it could not be operated by an organization outside the school system; as a result, the School Board placed the operation of both high school and elementary lunch programs under the supervision of the Department of High School Lunches and authorized the extension of the program to other elementary schools.
In September 1908, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union in Boston begun to supply hot lunches to high schools which were under the supervision of the Boston School Committee. A central kitchen system was used and lunches were transported to the participating schools. In January 1910, an experimental program for elementary schools took the form of a mid-morning lunch prepared by the class in Home Economics three days each week. On two days of each week sandwiches and milk were served; the children ate their meals at their desks. Before the end of the school year five additional schools were benefiting from the program, a total of 2,000 pupils were being served each day, according to a report submitted by Ellen H. Richards in the "Journal of Home Economics" for December 1910; as the scope of the meal supply expanded, local governments and school district boards could not provide the funds necessary to carry the increasing load. Supplementary contributions by charitable organizations and individuals did not suffice.
Aid from Federal sources became inevitable. The earliest Federal aid came from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932 and 1933 when it granted loans to several towns in southwestern Missouri to cover the cost of labor employed in preparing and serving school lunches; such Federal assistance was expanded to other areas in 1933 and 1934 under the operations of the Civil Works Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, reaching into 39 States and covering the employment of 7,442 women. The depression of the 1930s brought on widespread unemployment. Much of the production of the farm went begging for a market, surpluses of farm products continued to mount, prices of farm products declined to a point where farm income provided only a meager subsistence. Millions of school children were unable to pay for their school lunches, with but limited family resources to provide meals at home, the danger of malnutrition among children became a national concern. Public Law 320 passed by the 74th Congress and approved August 24, 1936, made available to the Secretary of Agriculture an amount of money equal to 30 percent of the gross receipts from duties collected under the customs laws during each calendar year.
Needy families and school lunch programs became constructive outlets for the commodities purchased by the USDA under the terms of such legislation. Many needy school children could not afford to pay for lunches and were sorely in need of supplementary foods from a nutritional standpoint, thus they would be using foods at school which would not otherwise be purchased in the market place and farmers would be helped by obtaining an outlet for
Food and Nutrition Service
The Food and Nutrition Service is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. The FNS is the federal agency responsible for administering the nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs; the service helps to address the issue of hunger in the United States. FNS administers the programs through its headquarters in Alexandria, VA. While its staff number among the USDA's fewest, its budget is by far the largest. FNS was established on August 1969 as an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. Several FNS programs, pre-date the creation of the agency and trace their roots back to Depression era programs. FNS products and services are provided to one in five Americans. National School Lunch Program — Lunches subsidized by the NSLP are nearly ubiquitous in public schools; the program has operated since 1946. School Breakfast Program Special Milk Program Summer Food Service Program Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children Farmers' Market Nutrition Program / Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program / Child and Adult Care Food Program Commodity Supplemental Food Program Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Food Assistance for Disaster Relief Nutrition Assistance Block Grants, including Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program The FNS is in charge of the national "Eat Smart.
Play Hard." Campaign, which encourages Americans to follow the healthy eating guidelines set by MyPyramid. The spokescharacter of the "Eat Smart. Play Hard." Campaign is Power Panther. Food preferences in older adults and seniors Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations Official website Food and Nutrition Service in the Federal Register