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Data & Research

Resource | Research | General/Other FY 2025 Research and Evaluation Plan

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service conducts a variety of studies, evaluations, and related activities that respond to the needs of policymakers and managers and help ensure that nutrition assistance programs achieve their goals effectively. This plan provides short descriptions of projects that are expected to launch in fiscal year (FY) 2025. 

It reflects decisions by FNS program and research staff and leadership on the best use of available research funding to meet current information needs that are aligned with agency priorities to improve program efficiency, integrity, and nutrition. FNS developed this plan in consultation with the agencies of the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Mission Area. 

03/13/2024
Resource | Research, Analysis & Background | Demonstrations Evaluation of the USDA Summer EBT Demonstrations: Lessons Learned From More Than a Decade of Research

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 authorized Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) as a permanent federal food assistance entitlement program beginning in summer 2024. Summer EBT has been tested through evaluations of demonstration projects since 2011. With pending implementation of this new program, this is an appropriate time to reflect on what USDA, FNS research has learned through more than a decade of study.

03/12/2024
Resource | Research, Analysis & Background | Assessing/Improving Operations Summer Food Service Program Integrity Study

The Summer Food Service Program Integrity Study was designed to improve understanding of how state agencies provide oversight of the SFSP. To address the research objectives, the study examined such areas as sponsor and site selection, training and technical assistance, meal counting and claiming, and reviews. The findings, based on data collected in 2021, also offered some preliminary responses about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SFSP operations.

08/30/2023
Resource | Research, Analysis & Background | Assessing/Improving Operations Child Nutrition Program Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, March Through September 2020

This data collection fulfills states’ reporting requirements and describes trends in program participation during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is part of an ongoing study series examining CN program operations, repurposed to collect waiver reports from all states.

05/23/2023
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations Results of FNS-Administered School Food Authority Survey on Supply Chain Disruption

The School Food Authority Survey on Supply Chain Disruptions was administered by FNS from November 8th through December 13th through a 20-minute online questionnaire. The survey was sent to all SFAs operating child nutrition programs to gather information on the scope of the supply chain disruptions and school meal operations during school year 2021-22.

03/04/2022
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations USDA Summer Meals Study

The Summer Meals Study provides a comprehensive, nationally representative assessment of the two summer meal programs operated by USDA: the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option. It is the first national study to simultaneously examine the facilitators and barriers to program participation among participating and nonparticipating families, sponsors, and sites. This study examines the characteristics of participating and nonparticipating children, including sociodemographic characteristics, household food security status, reasons for participation or nonparticipation, and satisfaction with the meals served to children in the summer of 2018. 

10/20/2021
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations Study of School Food Authority Procurement Practices

The Study of School Food Authority (SFA) Procurement Practices is the first study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service to comprehensively describe and assess the decision-making process regarding school food procurement practices at the SFA level. The sample for this study was a subset of the 1,679 SFAs that participated in the Child Nutrition Operations Study II (CN-OPS-II), which included a module on SFA procurement practices in school year (SY) 2016–17. Findings are based on the perceptions and experiences of the SFA and they may not reflect actual regulations and policies; this study was not an audit. 

09/21/2021
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review

The Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review includes the 2019 Farm to School Census; a descriptive review of the USDA Farm to School grant program; a review of published research on farm to school since 2010; and a set of interviews with school food distributors. 

07/15/2021
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II (CN-OPS II) SY 2016-17 Report

The Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II is a multiyear study designed to provide FNS with information on current state agency and school food authority policies, practices, and needs related to school nutrition service operations, financial management, meal counting, eligibility, nutrition standards, and personnel. Results inform CN program management and policy development. 

06/24/2021
Page updated: January 12, 2024