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FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Major Investments in Preventing Child Hunger

Today, the White House will host a conversation about child hunger in America, with experts and direct service providers discussing how hunger continues to harm children across the country. Participants will discuss the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other core nutrition programs in ensuring American children have the fuel they need to thrive. The conversation will include SNAP recipients, academics, direct service providers, advocates, faith leaders, and federal, state, and local officials and will focus on the critical role of SNAP in reducing food insecurity and poverty, and the high-cost consequences when benefits are not enough to sustain a family to the end of the month.

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HHS and USDA Release New Dietary Guidelines to Encourage Healthy Eating Patterns to Prevent Chronic Diseases

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today released updated nutritional guidelines that encourage Americans to adopt a series of science-based recommendations to improve how they eat to reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the nation's trusted resource for evidence-based nutrition recommendations and serves to provide the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals with the information they need to help the public make informed choices about their diets at home, school, work and in their communities.

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FACT SHEET: White House Report Highlights New Research on SNAP’s Effectiveness and the Importance of Adequate Food Assistance

A new Report released today from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps, is highly effective at reducing food insecurity—the government’s measure for whether households lack the resources for consistent and dependable access to food. The report highlights a growing body of research that finds that children who receive food assistance see improvements in health and academic performance and that these benefits are mirrored by long-run improvements in health, educational attainment, and economic self-sufficiency. The report also features new research that shows benefit levels are often inadequate to sustain families through the end of the month—resulting in high-cost consequences, such as a 27 percent increase in the rate of hospital admissions due to low blood sugar for low-income adults between the first and last week of the month, as well as diminished performance on standardized tests among school age children.

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USDA Hosts Prize Challenge to Generate Innovative Ideas for Electronic, Error-Reducing Version of the School Meal Programs Application

As part of its commitment to protecting the integrity of the child nutrition programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) kicked off a prize challenge today to solicit innovative designs for an electronic school meals application. The resulting electronic application is expected to help facilitate accurate completion and processing, thereby reducing improper payments and ensuring eligible low-income students receive free or reduced price meals.

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USDA Awards $2 Million for Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today awarded $2 million in grants to support research on nutrition education and obesity prevention for disadvantaged children and families at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Utah State University. The funding will help create two additional Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Centers of Excellence (RNECE), established through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

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USDA Helps Schools Connect with Local Farmers and Ranchers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects spanning 39 states that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program.

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USDA to Establish First-Ever SNAP Employment & Training Center of Excellence

Today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of the nation's first Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (E&T) Center of Excellence. The Center of Excellence will build on the Administration's commitment to job-driven training. It will build on best practices that help SNAP participants gain the skills they need for jobs employers are looking to fill today.

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USDA Announces New Technology Grants to Combat SNAP Recipient Trafficking

Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced that up to $7.5 million in technology grants is available to combat recipient benefit abuse and trafficking in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The final date to apply for this funding, which was made possible by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (i.e., the “Farm Bill”), is July 18, 2015.

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Secretary Vilsack Announces Additional Progress in Addressing Childhood Hunger, Applauds Pediatricians for their Commitment

Today at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that with the current school year underway, 97 percent of schools now report successfully meeting updated nutrition standards, and the number of eligible high-poverty schools utilizing USDA's Community Eligibility Provision has increased by 20 percent since last year. The Community Eligibility Program ensures universal access to healthy food for all children attending high-poverty schools, and this is the second school year that it has been available nationwide. Secretary Vilsack made this announcement before the members of the American Academy of Pediatrics which just this weekend demonstrated their commitment to improving child nutrition by releasing a policy statement calling for pediatricians across the country to play a role in reducing childhood food insecurity.

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New USDA Data Show Growing Farm to School Efforts Help to Reduce Plate Waste, Increase Student Participation in Healthier School Meals Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced preliminary Farm to School Census data for school year 2013-2014 that indicate strong farm to school programs can increase the number of students purchasing school breakfast and lunch, improve consumption of healthier foods at school, and reduce plate waste. Census data also indicate that schools purchased nearly $600 million worth of food locally in school year 2013-2014, a 55 percent increase over school year 2011-2012 when the first Farm to School Census was conducted, creating new marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers in their communities.

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USDA Helps States Improve Technology to Combat Trafficking of SNAP Benefits

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced an award of over $9 million in technology grants to help selected state agencies combat benefit abuse and trafficking by participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Projects in Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Jersey were selected.

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USDA Seeks Applications for $16.8 Million in Grants to Empower SNAP Participants to Make Healthy Eating Choices

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of up to $16.8 million in funding to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding is available to local, state and national organizations to test incentive strategies to help SNAP participants better afford healthy foods. This is the second round of awards to be made under the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program created by the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will administer the grants.

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USDA Awards $34.3 Million to Support Communities' Local Foods Infrastructure, Increase Access to Fruits and Vegetables

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today helped to kick off the nation's harvest season by announcing nearly $35 million in new funding through four grant programs to support local and regional food systems, including farmers markets. Secretary Vilsack has named strengthening local food systems as one of the four pillars of USDA's efforts to revitalize rural economies and communities. Purchases of locally-produced food have surged to nearly $12 billion under Secretary Vilsack's leadership, while the number of farmers markets has exploded to more than 8,500 from 5,274 in 2009.

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FNS Approves Hot Food Purchases in Select Areas in Response to the Valley Fires in California

Due to the Valley Fires, and effective immediately, retail food stores licensed by the Food and Nutrition Service to accept SNAP benefits in the following counties may accept SNAP benefits in exchange for HOT foods and foods intended to be consumed on retailer premises: Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and Yolo.

These special rules are in effect through Oct. 24, 2015

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USDA Awards Grants to Improve SNAP Processing, Technology

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced $5 million in grants to state and local agencies and community partners to streamline application processing and improve technology in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The competitively-awarded grants will fund six projects in four states, improving efficiency in SNAP operations.

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New Report Shows Farm to School Grants Have Increased Likelihood that 6.9 Million Kids Will Eat More Healthy Food at School, Created New Local Market Opportunities for Farmers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a new report that shows that USDA's Farm to School Grant Program, established and funded through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, has helped 12,300 schools improve nutritious meal options made with local ingredients for 6.9 million students, while expanding market opportunities for family farmers and ranchers in their communities. Recent studies published in Childhood Obesity and Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior indicate that strong farm to school programs can impact consumption of fruits and vegetables, leading to reductions in plate waste.

The Communications Division coordinates public and media communications for the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area. For media inquiries, please contact FNSpress@usda.gov or 703-305-2281.