U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has joined Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to introduce the Farm to School Act of 2015, a measure to improve a program that promotes the use of home-state agriculture products in school cafeterias.
The Leahy-Cochran legislation (S. 569) would expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant program created in 2004 but not funded until 2010. The 2015 legislation would increase school eligibility, reduce barriers for farmer participation, allow broader use of agriculture and aquaculture (including catfish) products and restrict the amount of program funding that can be used for administrative costs.
The bill would raise the program’s authorized level from $5 million to $15 million, and increase the maximum grant award to $200,000. A similar bipartisan reauthorization bill (HR. 1061) has been introduced in the House.
“Farm to School is a simple, but great concept to provide more economic opportunities to farmers and more home-state food options for our schools,” Cochran said.