Monday, October 18, 2021

Friday Ocober 15 Ag News

 Nebraska Corn Hosts Mexico Association Team
The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board hosted a coalition of various associations from Mexico with the goal of continuing the dialogue on opposing the decrees set forth by the Mexico president. The coalition, made up of feed, importing, livestock, and biotechnology associations representing 95% of corn imports into Mexico toured Nebraska, along with stops in Iowa and Washington DC, to gain additional background on the use of GMOs and glyphosate. Joining a dinner to welcome the team to Nebraska was Nebraska Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman, Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen, and State Senator Curt Friesen.  

 Smith Hosts the Consul of Mexico in Nebraska for Agriculture Tour

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, welcomed the Consul of Mexico of Omaha, Guadalupe Sanchez, to Nebraska’s Third District on Wednesday, October 6th for an agriculture tour of York County.  

This visit served as an opportunity for Smith to demonstrate the value of the ongoing trade relationship between the United States and Mexico for the meat and corn industry, as well as the impact of some of Mexico’s recent biotechnology policies on American farmers. The tour consisted of stops at Bayer Waco seed corn facility, McLean Beef, and Triple S Farms.

“It was a pleasure hosting the Consul of Mexico of Omaha in Nebraska’s Third District,” said Smith. “The importance of a successful trade relationship, facilitated by USMCA, between the U.S. and Mexico cannot be overstated. It was a great opportunity to show Consul Guadalupe Sanchez first-hand how crucial trade is for producers and consumers in Nebraska, as well as in Mexico.”

“I appreciate the kind invitation of Congressman Adrian Smith, which gave the opportunity to witness the processes of the agriculture industries and the hard work of the local community in the Third District,” said Consul Sanchez. “It was also an occasion to meet with Mexican workers and to pinpoint how crucial the trade relationship between Mexico and Nebraska is, with a direct impact on the creation of 34,000 local jobs. I am very proud to represent my country and my community in the beautiful state of Nebraska”.

Mexico is Nebraska’s top exporting market, with the state exporting about $7.5 billion to Mexico in 2019.  For the Third District specifically, more than 8,200 jobs were related to agricultural trade with Mexico and the top agricultural exports were in the oilseeds and grains and meat products categories in 2020. Mexico is the number one foreign buyer of Nebraska corn, purchasing about $429 million worth in 2020.  

Wisner-Pilger High School takes first place at the Northeast Area FFA Land Judging Contest

The Northeast Area FFA Land Judging Contest was held Tuesday, October 5th near Howells.  532 students from 27 high schools registered that morning at the Howells Ballroom before traveling to the testing site.  The contest was held on ground owned by John Doerneman, four miles east of Howells.

A team from Wisner-Pilger High School finished first with the top score of 1251 points.  Team members are:  Sydney Porter, Spencer Batenhorst, Taylor Scholting, and Beau Ruskamp.

A team from Howells-Dodge High School placed second with a score of 1191.  Third place went to Allen with a score of 1152.  Teams from West Point, Pender, Oakland-Craig, and Stanton also brought home top honors.  The top 7 teams will participate at the State competition in the Holdrege area on October 20th.

The top individual award went to Sydney Porter of Wisner-Pilger with a total score of 326.  Levi Belina of Howells-Dodge was second with a score of 325, Spencer Batenhorst of Wisner-Pilger was came in third with 321 points.  Ellee Hall of North Bend and Taylor Scholting of Wisner-Pilger came in fourth and fifth.

The site provided good diversity in soils and landscape positions for the students.  The contest helps the students make informed decisions regarding soil utilization in the future.  Scoring was completed the following day at the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) office in Norfolk.

The high schools participating were:  Allen, Bancroft-Rosalie, Battle Creek, Blair, Clarkson, Elkhorn Valley-Tilden, Emerson-Hubbard, Howells-Dodge, Leigh, Logan View, Lutheran High Northeast, Lyons-Decatur Northeast, Madison, Newman Grove, Norfolk, North Bend, Oakland-Craig, Osmond, Pender, Pierce, Randolph, Scribner-Snyder, Stanton, Tekamah-Herman, Wayne, West Point-Beemer, and Wisner-Pilger.

The LENRD, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Howells-Dodge High School, and the Nebraska FFA Land Judging Committee organized and sponsored the contest.

2022-2023 Engler scholarships available to CASNR students

Students passionate about becoming entrepreneurship can now apply for scholarships to the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the 2022-2023 academic year. Incoming and current students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students are eligible to apply, but must have prior FFA or 4-H experience.

Scholarships are awarded annually to Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship students ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, with eligibility to reapply for three years, said Tom Field, director of the program. In 2021, 74 students received scholarship support from the Engler program, totaling over $204,000.  

To apply, students must complete an application and series of essay questions at Applications are due by midnight on Jan. 15, 2022.

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program is a unique opportunity at Nebraska designed to empower enterprise builders. Approximately 200 students at the university are pursuing development of their entrepreneurial skills and capacity in the program. Participation in the program is not restricted to scholarship recipients.  

The Engler program began in 2010 with a $20 million gift over 10 years from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation. The purpose of the program is to identify students with the entrepreneurial drive and then foster development of professional skills conducive to success in applying entrepreneurism in agriculture and agribusiness.

For more information about the program, visit  

UNL webinar to cover farm programs, farm income, ag outlook for 2022

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability will offer an update on farm programs and farm income, along with an outlook for what is ahead, during a webinar at noon on Oct. 21.

Farm income supports have been an important part of farm income over the past few years, peaking with the massive COVID-19 relief payments made in 2020 in response to market disruptions and losses amid the pandemic. However, commodity increases since late summer 2020 have substantially improved the bottom line for producers, leading to potential record income levels in 2021 — even as government payments quickly decline. But questions remain as to the road ahead and whether higher prices will last and stay ahead of rising input costs.

The webinar will be presented by Brad Lubben, extension policy specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.

To register for the webinar, visit the Center for Agricultural Profitability’s website at

NASS conducts its first hemp acreage and production survey

On Oct. 18, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be sending its first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey to Nebraska producers. The hemp survey will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production, and value of hemp in the United States.
“The Hemp Acreage and Production Survey will provide critical data about the hemp industry to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors, and other key industry entities,” said Nicholas Streff, Director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office.

Survey recipients are asked to respond securely online at, using the 12-digit survey code mailed with the survey, or to mail completed questionnaires back in the prepaid envelope provided, by Oct. 25.

As defined in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), the term “hemp” means the plant species Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant such as the seeds, all derivatives, and extracts, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. The Domestic Hemp Production Program established in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) allows for the cultivation of hemp under certain conditions.

All information reported by individuals will be kept confidential, as required by federal law. NASS will publish the survey results Feb. 17, 2022 on the NASS website and in the NASS Quick Stats searchable database. For more information about the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey, visit the hemp survey web page For assistance with the survey, producers are encouraged to call the NASS Nebraska field office at (800) 582-6443.

Kocher retirement reception set for October 29

A retirement reception for Michael Kocher, associate professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the East Campus Union in Great Plains Room B-C.  

A registered professional engineer, Kocher earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctoral degree from Oklahoma State University, all in agricultural engineering. Kocher first worked in the agricultural engineering department at Nebraska as an extension assistant from August 1979 through July 1983 before leaving to pursue a doctorate. Kocher also served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1986 through 1992.  After a four-year stint on the biological and agricultural engineering faculty at the University of Arkansas, Kocher joined Nebraska faculty in August 1990.  

Kocher made significant contributions to biological systems engineering teaching programs and most recently taught courses in power and machinery principles, power systems design, and equipment and tractor testing. He is co-author with John S. Cundiff of “Fluid Power Circuits and Controls: Fundamentals and Applications, 2nd Edition,” which was released in December 2019.  

The bulk of Kocher’s research has focused on instrumentation for rapid evaluation of planter seed spacing performance, testing methods for tractor performance, and logistics and economics of biomass harvesting. As a member and chair of the Nebraska Board of Tractor Test Engineers, Mike helped develop new procedures, analyses, and reports of tractor performance, which contributed to international tractor testing codes. He has also worked for several years with the committee that develops the professional engineering exam for agricultural and biological engineering. Kocher has received numerous honors and awards during his career and he has obtained a U.S. patent.   

During his retirement, Mike and his wife, Jodi, are looking forward to spending more time with their four children, including fishing during the summer with extended family at their lake cabin in Minnesota. Kocher is also looking forward to more time outdoors hunting Nebraska’s plentiful wildlife.

The reception is open to the campus community and for those who are unable to attend in person it can be viewed on-line at: Contributions to a book of letters congratulating Mike on his retirement may be sent to Christel Burgason at

USDA Designates Six Nebraska Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Impacted Area: Nebraska
Triggering Disaster: Drought
Application Deadline: June 6, 2022
Primary Counties Eligible: Banner, Box Butte, Keya Paha, Morrill, Scotts Bluff and Sioux
Contiguous Counties Also Eligible:
Nebraska: Boyd, Cherry, Dawes, Holt, Rock, Brown, Cheyenne, Garden, Kimball, Sheridan
South Dakota: Fall River, Gregory, Todd and Tripp
Wyoming: Goshen, Laramie and Niobrara

More Resources

On, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local USDA Service Center.

Iowa Corn and IRFA Call on Biden Administration to Unleash Potential of Biofuels to Lower Prices at the Pump

Today the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking his administration to take three immediate steps to expand market opportunity for E15 and lower prices at the pump for consumers.

“Right now, there are over three billion gallons of low carbon, American-made ethanol production capacity that could be unleashed by your Administration to help families fight inflation pressures,” ICGA and IRFA presidents Lance Lillibridge and Mike Jerke said in the letter.

The three steps the letter called on the administration to take were:
1.         EPA Administrator should finalize the E15 Labeling Rule,
2.         EPA Administrator should allow E15 to be sold through E10-approved underground storage tanks (UST) and dispensers, and
3.         EPA should propose and finalize a rule to limit the volatility of gasoline blend stocks, thereby allowing E15 to be sold year-round.

“Instructing the EPA to finalize steps one and two would allow those available gallons of clean, renewable, more affordable fuel to hit the market in the near future,” they said in the letter. “The final action step will ensure the cost savings of additional ethanol use do not come to an end next year in June.”


IDALS & APHIS Are Helping Meat Processors Prepare for a Potential Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are helping meat processors prepare for a potential foreign animal disease outbreak.

On Sept. 29, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA APHIS held a workshop with representatives from the meat processing industry to help familiarize them with state and federal animal health agencies’ response plans. The discussion helped stakeholders in the meat processing industry understand how a foreign animal disease response could affect operations at a harvest facility. The goal is to help identify strategies to minimize operational and supply chain disruptions if an outbreak occurs.

“Preparing for a potential foreign animal disease outbreak is a top priority for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. I appreciate the continued collaboration and support from USDA APHIS. A quick, strategic and coordinated response from state, federal and industry stakeholders is the best way to protect our livestock, economy, trade markets and food chain if a foreign animal disease breaches the U.S. border,” said Secretary Naig. “We’ve been focused on foreign animal disease planning for several years, but there’s a sense of urgency now that African Swine Fever has been detected in the western hemisphere. We want to make sure stakeholders throughout the supply chain understand our response plans so they can adjust accordingly to minimize disruptions for producers, retailers and consumers.”

Most foreign animal diseases, including African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease, do not pose a risk to human health or food safety. If there is a confirmed, positive case of a foreign animal disease at a harvest facility, an epidemiological link to the site or if the plant is in a control area, deliveries and shipments from the plant may be stopped, permitted or delayed, which could lead to back-ups on farms.

During the workshop, animal health officials and industry stakeholders discussed steps to ensure animal welfare and enhance biosecurity to prevent the potential spread of the disease. Attendees also reviewed opportunities to build upon plants’ current cleaning and disinfection protocols to continue to protect food safety and help minimize downtime.

This is the latest in a series of foreign animal disease planning discussions, tabletop exercises and webinars the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has participated in since 2019. The Department has hosted a series of webinars to help producers prepare, including two during ASF Action week. The recordings are available at

To learn more about the state’s foreign animal disease response plans, visit

Released ag data highlights pressures and opportunities from 2020

As Iowa farmers get into the thick of harvest, some may still be feeling the impact of 2020, a year marked by a pandemic and derecho that caused widespread crop damage and affected the 2021 growing season. The 2021 Iowa Agricultural Statistics, a comprehensive data overview by Iowa’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) office and released by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), highlights these challenges.

Nationwide, 2020 saw a record year for red meat processing with Iowa leading the way at almost 9 billion pounds of red meat. Despite supply chain disruptions, this was a 336-million-pound increase over the prior year. However, Iowa’s cattle and hog producers saw a decrease of $1.6 billion in cash receipts according to the report, down to $10.6 billion.

“This data bears out that 2020 was a challenging year for many Iowa farmers. It was a year marred with a public health pandemic and derecho that spurred difficult times financially for farmers – especially those who struggled to market hogs and cattle,” says Dr. Sam Funk, IFBF director of agriculture analytics and research.

In the grain sector, 2020 saw the U.S. poised for record exports in corn and soybeans at start of the 2020/21 marketing year. China made record purchases of U.S. corn and displayed very strong demand for U.S. soy in 2020/21 which resulted in tighter stocks of these grains which supported strong crop prices in 2021.

“Last fall, we started to see a large-scale pull internationally for our corn and soybeans, but it really took off this year. Soy exports started strong last fall and continued the entire 2020-21 marketing year setting a new record,” says Dr. Funk. “Corn exports began strong in the fall of 2020 but ramped-up even further midway through the 2020-21 marketing year to also set an all-time record level of exports.”

The statistical summary showed Iowa agriculture as a leader producing many commodities including corn, hogs and eggs. Sheep inventory saw an increase of 9,000 head overall from the previous year, and Iowa ranked fourth in cattle on feed.

The $12 stats book can be ordered from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. Checks should be made payable to the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Victoria Station in Harlan Wins 2021 Breaded Tenderloin Contest

A west central Iowa town has a new tourist attraction: the 2021 Iowa’s Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin.

Victoria Station in Harlan has won the 19th annual contest, presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and managed by its restaurant and foodservice committee.

“That’s pretty good for a prime rib joint,” joked Richard Buman, who bought the restaurant 18 months ago with his wife, Angela.

When the couple took over Victoria Station, they “inherited” a tenderloin being served at the time. And while there was “nothing wrong it,” Richard Buman said, they decided to make the sandwich their own.

Each hand-cut, 8-ounce loin is tenderized three times, then coated in a blend of dry seasonings and marinated for at least an hour. The meat is dipped in a buttermilk breading and fried to order.

Sandwiches are served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. The Bumans recommend eating the tenderloin with their house-made garlic aioli and Texas toast, though the traditional mustard and burger bun are available.

“For the aioli, we use the garlic that we roast ourselves for the prime rib,” Richard Buman said. “In my opinion, that really makes the sandwich stand out.”

Tenderloins can also be ordered “buffalo style,” tossed in a cayenne pepper sauce.

In the week after being named among this year’s five finalists, Victoria Station sold what would normally be nearly two months’ worth of tenderloins. The Bumans plan to hire an extra daytime server as customers come from all over—one couple heading home to Atlanta detoured an hour and a half to try a tenderloin.

“We have called it the tenderloin tsunami,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA’s marketing and programs director, who noted that past winners have reported selling five to 10 times more tenderloins in the first month, and double their normal number still a year later. “This contest has a huge following, and it’s always fun to see how many people are willing to make a road trip to explore our top homemade tenderloins.”

Prior to purchasing the restaurant, the Bumans held various positions at Hy-Vee in Le Mars. Richard grew up in Harlan, and he and Angela were high-schoolers when they had their first date at Victoria Station. They’re self-proclaimed “foodies” and had long talked about owning a small restaurant.

“We simply love great food and love entertaining, so this is a way we can do it and hopefully make a living at it,” Richard Buman said.

The IPPA restaurant and foodservice committee is officially presenting the best tenderloin award today (Friday, Oct. 15) at the restaurant. Victoria Station will receive $500, a plaque, and a large banner to display.

This year’s runner-up is a past contest winner. Larsen’s Pub in Elk Horn, which holds the 2007 title, again earned high ratings from a panel of judges, and will receive $250 and a plaque from IPPA. Rounding out the top five finalists (in no order) are Old Road Cafe & Bar in Emerson; Z’s Eatery and Draught Haus in Indianola; and Stalker’s Pub in Miles. These restaurants will receive a top five plaque to display.

IPPA received 5,928 nominations for 526 different establishments during a spring nomination period. The restaurant and foodservice committee reviewed the top 40 restaurants in the summer. Each was scored on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics, and eating experience.

The tenderloin contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that offer a hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloin as a regular menu item. To win, businesses must be open year-round.

The winners are announced as part of #Porktober21, or October Pork Month, which celebrates the state’s dedicated pig farmers and the great product they produce.

PrairieMoon On Main in Prairieburg, about 30 miles northeast of Cedar Rapids, won the 2020 contest. See the full list of past winners.

If You Go
Victoria Station is located at 407 Victoria St. in Harlan. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is closed Monday. Dine in or carry out. Approximate seating capacity is 86 inside, and 24 outside. Call (712) 755–5682 or visit

NCBA’s Redbook Makes Cattle Recordkeeping Easy

For more than three decades cattle producers have simplified their recordkeeping with a handy pocket-sized booklet from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The 2022 version of the Redbook is now available to help cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, which can help enhance profitability and reduce stress levels.

In addition to Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) practices and proper injection technique information, the 2022 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, AI breeding records and more. It also contains a calendar and notes section.

“Producers tell us year after year that these booklets help make recordkeeping easy,” said Josh White, NCBA’s executive director of producer education & sustainability. “Having BQA information right at their fingertips is helpful as well.”

Redbooks can be purchased online at for $7.25 each, plus shipping. Customization, including adding a company logo on the cover, is available in quantities of 100 books or more. For more information on custom orders, contact Grace Webb at or (303) 850-3443.

Taziki’s American Lamb Burger a Success

Taziki's Mediterranean Café and the American Lamb Board’s effort to promote the new Taziki’s Lamb Burger was a success. This summer, Taziki’s tested the burger on its menus in four markets and sales exceeded expectations.
“The Lamb Burger test we conducted this summer was a smashing success and we can’t wait to offer it to all customers in 2022,” said Julie Wade, Taziki’s senior director of marketing.
"We're excited to offer the Lamb Burger in all Taziki's locations as a limited time offer in early 2022. Lamb is a top-selling protein for us and serving it as ground patties gives our customers another way to enjoy it," said Wade. “Sales during the test window exceeded expectations and additional markets asked to be included in the evaluation period.”
The burger is two patties of savory, seasoned ground lamb, topped with grilled peppers and onions, feta cheese and Taziki sauce served on a grilled kaiser bun.
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is a rapidly expanding brand, named one of America’s fastest growing leaders by Inc. 5000 in the fresh-casual industry. Having more than tripled in size since 2011, Taziki’s has more than 90 restaurant locations, spanning across 18 states nationally.
The July through August test markets for Taziki’s Lamb Burger included Nashville, Tenn., Panama City, Fla., Birmingham, Ala. and the communities of Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas.
The American Lamb Board is funded by the American Lamb Checkoff and is charged with building awareness and expanding demand for American lamb and strengthening its position in the marketplace, thereby increasing the potential long-range economic growth of all industry sectors.

USDA Works to Strengthen School Meals, Listens to Feedback from Food Industry Leaders

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Stacy Dean and USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Cindy Long today hosted a virtual listening session with 19 school food industry executives to discuss their critical role in strengthening access to nutritious foods for school meals programs, now and into the future.

“USDA’s school meal programs have a wide-reaching impact on the health and well-being of our nation’s children,” said Vilsack. “Now, more than ever, America’s children need access to the healthy and nutritious foods, and our industry partners play a huge role in making that happen.”

USDA’s meeting with these key partners came as the department, schools and other partners across the country celebrate National School Lunch Week (NSLW) between October 11-15. This week – and every week – is an opportunity to celebrate the high-quality, delicious, and nutritious lunches children receive through schools.

The COVID-19 public health and economic crisis has highlighted the essential role that school meals play in addressing childhood hunger, as well as the tireless dedication and creativity of school food professionals in making sure children are well fed – no matter the situation.

In case you missed it, over the last week, FNS has engaged with schools in a variety of activities in celebration of National School Lunch Week:
    Department of Education Secretary Cardona and Secretary Vilsack kicked off National School Lunch Week with a video thanking school nutritional professionals for the work they do to ensure students have the healthy fuel they need to learn and grow.
    Secretary Vilsack visited Riverdale Elementary in Riverdale, Maryland to announce that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is joining with students, parents, schools, communities and partners across the nation in recognition of National School Lunch Week, as proclaimed by President Biden.
    Regional office activities included a virtual celebration with schools in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, congratulating them for increased school lunch participation and recognizing their innovations that have kept their students fed throughout the pandemic.
    “One of the most important things we can do to protect the future of our nation’s children is to make sure they have enough nutritious food to eat – and the National School Lunch Program does exactly that,” said Vilsack. “Research shows that school meals are the healthiest food children receive in a day, and students’ success in the classroom is connected to their ability to access healthy and nutritious meals.” Vilsack added that USDA is committed more than ever to listening to all its partners – state, local, industry and beyond – and giving them the resources and options they need to safely serve school meals that support students’ learning and development.

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