OPI Superintendent Arntzen on USDA Breakfast and Lunch Funding

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Montana Superintendent of Public Education Elsie Arntzen told KGVO News on Tuesday about more than $ 5 million in funding for breakfasts and school lunches from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Arntzen provided details on the latest USDA funding.

“The US Department of Agriculture, which is where we get a lot of the funding for our breakfasts and our lunch programs,” Arntzen said. “Montana has received approximately $ 5 million, or a little more than that in three different funding flexibilities to ensure our school children receive excellent nutrition, a breakfast, and the lunch program.”

Arntzen said some of the funds are intended to supplement issues related to supply chain issues.

“One of them comes to us specifically here at OPI and then they will go to our 820+ schools and it’s all about giving them different kinds of food and making sure they have non-perishable foods, making sure we have an opportunity to support what students expect, ”she said.

Arntzen said part of the funds would be used to purchase processed foods.

“Another has to deal with the USDA,” she said. “Schools can buy different kinds of processed foods directly from the USDA and they’re canned foods and things like that. There’s nothing better than canned peaches in Montana when it’s really, really cold.

Another portion of the funding will help partner with farmers and ranchers in Montana to provide fresh food to public schools.

“The third faces the most flexible form of funding, and it reflects who we are as an agricultural state,” she said. “So if we can go to a rancher, or if we can go to a legume grower and get these lentils to make this chili, if we can do something in Montana that will say it’s a lunch made in Montana or breakfast made in Montana then our students will recognize that and we also support our great agriculture in Montana.

With funding made available by USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA is providing $ 1 billion to schools to purchase food for their meal programs and an additional $ 300 million to states to purchase food for distribution. to schools.

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