Today’s quick hits, Dec. 8, 2022

School meals slowdown: About 88 percent of public schools participated in school meals programs this fall, down from 94 percent last spring. Participation rates at individual schools also fell amid challenges including an end to universal meal waivers, staffing shortages, and rising costs. (K-12 Dive)

Obey child labor laws: The company accused of hiring dozens of minors to clean meat processing plants in Nebraska and Minnesota agreed in federal court to comply with child labor laws nationwide. (Meat and Poultry)

West wants drought money: The U.S. West, suffering through a “22-year mega-drought,” deserves an equal share of the $20 billion Congress appropriated for USDA climate mitigation programs, said 14 senators in a letter to the USDA. (Sen. Bennet)

Connect city farmers, buyers: A professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology is studying how to bridge the gap between Chicago’s urban farmers and its large public institutions, such as hospitals and schools, that buy a lot of food. (Inside Climate News)

Urban-rural split grows: Rural voters have become increasingly supportive of Republican congressional candidates in the past eight election cycles, with 68 percent voting for the GOP in this year’s midterm elections. (Daily Yonder)