USDA extends free school meals for all children

Washington, Oct. 16, 2020 — President Donald Trump proclaimed this week National School Lunch Week 2020, highlighting the vital role of school nutrition professionals in ensuring that children in all communities nationwide continue to get nutritious meals, despite the challenges posed by the current public health emergency.
To keep this work going, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue recently announced the continued extension of nationwide flexibilities that allow free school meals for all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year.

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USDA extends WIC COVID-19 flexibilities for duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency

(Washington, D.C., September 21, 2020) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the extension of more than a dozen flexibilities ensuring participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) continue receiving the food and health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA’s proactive extension of these waivers throughout the national public health emergency will ensure nutritionally at-risk mothers, babies and children receive the critical nutrition benefits and services they count on in a safe manner while allowing the program to operate based on local conditions throughout the pandemic.

“USDA has been extremely steadfast in offering flexibilities to ensure Americans in need continue to receive food assistance during COVID-19. President Trump has demonstrated his commitment to supporting Americans in need during the pandemic and setting them up for success as our nation reopens and recovers,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “WIC provides vital services to new and expectant mothers, infants, and children and we are committed to making it as easy as possible for them to receive the support they need during the pandemic.”

Background:

Without today’s action, these essential flexibilities would have expired at the end of this month.

WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants and children under five who are determined by health professionals to be at nutritional risk.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has made maximum use of existing program flexibilities and the waiver authority provided by Congress to make it as easy as possible for children and families to participate in WIC– and all of the department’s nutrition assistance programs – during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The WIC waivers being extended allow for:

·     Participants to be approved for WIC without being physically present in a local office;

·     Remote issuance of benefits to any participant;

·     Flexibility in food package requirements, including dairy, grains, vegetables, and infant foods; and

·     Additional options for pick-up of food packages.

More information on the WIC waivers extended today, along with those that have been approved since the start of COVID-19, is available at www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus and on Twitter at @USDANutrition.

USDA Helps Cotton Producers Maintain, Expand Domestic Market

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced at the 66th Annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action to assist cotton producers through a Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton.

U.S. Department of Agriculture logo(MEMPHIS, TN, March 3, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced at the 66th Annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action to assist cotton producers through a Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton.

“America’s cotton producers have now faced four years of financial stress, just like the rest of our major commodities, but with a weaker safety net,” Perdue said. “In particular, cotton producers confront high input and infrastructure costs, which leaves them more financially leveraged than most of their colleagues. That economic burden has been felt by the entire cotton market, including the gins, cooperatives, marketers, cottonseed crushers, and the rural communities that depend upon their success.”

The sign-up period for the CGCS program runs from March 12, 2018, to May 11, 2018.

Under the program, which is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), cotton producers may receive a cost share payment, which is based on a producer’s 2016 cotton acres reported to FSA multiplied by 20 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region.

Perdue added, “I hope this will be a needed help as the rural cotton-growing communities stretching from the Southeastern U.S. to the San Joaquin Valley of California prepare to plant. This infusion gives them one last opportunity for assistance until their Farm Bill safety net becomes effective.”

CGCS payments are capped at $40,000 per producer. To qualify for the program, cotton producers must meet conservation compliance provisions, be actively engaged in farming and have adjusted gross incomes not exceeding $900,000. FSA will mail letters and pre-filled applications to all eligible cotton producers.

The program was established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

To learn more about the CGCS program, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/cgcs or contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit the USDA’s new website: https://www.farmers.gov/.

 

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for January

WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for January 2018.

The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for January is 1.625 percent, up from 1.500 percent in December.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during January is 2.625 percent, up from 2.500 percent in December.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for January are as follows, 1.875 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in December; 2.125 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 2.000 percent in December; 2.250 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.250 percent in December; 2.375 percent with 10-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.375 percent in December and; 2.375 percent with 12-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.375 percent in December. The interest rate for 15-year Sugar Storage Facility Loans for January is 2.500 percent, unchanged from 2.500 percent in December.

Further program information is available from USDA Farm Service Agency’s Financial Management Division at 202-772-6041.