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Stimulus Bill, Signed by President Obama, Maintains Nutrition Funding

Feb 17, 2009

The $787 billion economic stimulus bill signed into law today by President Barack Obama maintains key nutrition funding that will offer opportunities for the dairy industry. Designed to jump start the economy, most of the stimulus funding will go to infrastructure investments and tax cuts.

The bill increases funding for the Special Nutrition Assistance Program by $20 billion. Also known as food stamps, SNAP includes an estimated additional $815 million for retail dairy purchases. (See "Stimulus Bills May Bolster Dairy Demand through Nutrition Programs".) The bill provides full funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), as well as increases for emergency food assistance. It also includes a $100 million competitive grant program for school foodservice equipment.

"The grant program will help schools to add or upgrade their beverage coolers, allowing improved access and increased demand for milk in schools," said Ruth Saunders, IDFA senior director of policy and legislative affairs. "We're especially pleased that schools will have access to increased grant money, and we encourage members to alert their local school districts to this opportunity."

IDFA supports this program because, according to the results of a school milk pilot test {link to School Milk Pilot Test Report) launched in 2001, it improves accessibility of milk in schools. The pilot investigated the decline of fluid milk purchases in schools and tested a variety of methods for raising consumption. The results showed that installing milk coolers in schools to maintain prescribed temperatures was one of the key steps that led to a 37 percent increase in milk consumption.

IDFA commends Representative David Obey (D-WI), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, for working to keep these important nutrition investments in the stimulus bill.

For more information, contact Saunders at rsaunders@idfa.org or 202-220-3553.

 

 
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