Cochran, Leahy introduce farm-to-school bill |

Cochran, Leahy introduce farm-to-school bill

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., reintroduced the Farm to School Act (S. 1767) to expand the Farm to School grant program, which promotes the use of home-state agriculture products in school cafeterias.

The Leahy-Cochran bill 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.

“Our Farm to School legislation would make it easier for local farms to grow more food for local schools,” Cochran said. “Schoolchildren across the country can have greater access to locally-grown meat, fish, and produce, which can be particularly beneficial for students in underserved and rural areas.”

The legislation would raise the program’s annual authorized level from $5 million to $15 million, and increase the maximum grant award to $200,000. The bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee, on which Cochran and Leahy both serve.

A companion House bill (HR.3686) has been introduced by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.