As she works to strengthen school meals, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp received input directly from students and administrators during school breakfast at Sunrise Elementary.
Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also discussed with students and school officials the provisions she helped include in the Senate-passed Farm Bill to improve school meals.
"Today offered not only an opportunity to talk to school administrators and officials about their school meals programs, but a chance to hear directly from the students -- like those at Sunrise Elementary -- who are actually eating them," said Heitkamp. "These programs make sure our kids get good, healthy meals, helping enable them to focus and learn more while in the classroom. I helped pass a Farm Bill in the Senate that would make crucial improvements to school meals programs, and now it's time for the House to do its part. Giving our kids every opportunity to succeed should be a priority for us all."
After breakfast, Heitkamp met with a local superintendent, school principal, and heads of child nutrition programs, as well as other school and public officials, to discuss challenges related to improving school nutrition in the North Dakota Public School System.
The Farm Bill Heitkamp supported made significant improvements to our school meal programs. One provision Heitkamp helped include was the Pulse Foods Pilot Program, which would explore ways to increase the use of nutritious, North Dakota grown pulse crops in school breakfasts and lunches. The use of pulse foods for school meals is not only a healthy option for students around the country, but it will support North Dakota farmers. Pulses are highly nutritious foods that are excellent sources of dietary fiber, potassium, protein and other nutrients.
Heitkamp played a key role in passing a long-term Farm Bill though the Senate in June. The overwhelmingly bipartisan bill reduces the federal deficit by more than $23 billion. The Farm Bill has been continually held up in the House of Representatives. After significant delay, the House finally passed its version of the Farm Bill, which stripped out the nutrition title. The House has yet to pass a nutrition title, or joined the Senate in appointing members to a conference committee to work out the differences between the two bills.