Roberts sees route for reauthorizing child nutrition this year

After warning against saddling small schools with big-city regulations, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts said on Wednesday that Congress could act swiftly on the overdue renewal of child nutrition programs. The programs, headlined by school lunch and WIC, cost $30 billion a year.

Congress moving slowly on child nutrition reauthorization

Although key lawmakers in the House and Senate support an update of U.S. child nutrition programs, headlined by school lunch and WIC, the timeline for those updates is unclear. “If we can’t go forward, we’ll wait,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow on Thursday, in a reference to disputes over school food standards.

To get around the shutdown, SNAP benefits will be paid nearly two weeks early

The Trump administration will release an estimated $4.8 billion to SNAP recipients on January 20, nearly two weeks early, to ensure they get their February food stamps despite the partial government shutdown, announced Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday. The USDA said its other public nutrition programs, including WIC, school lunch and food donations, are funded through February, alleviating concerns of hunger among millions of Americans during a protracted shutdown.

Federal nutrition assistance at risk in a long-running shutdown

Two of the major public nutrition programs, SNAP and WIC, could run out of money if the partial government shutdown persists into February and beyond, affecting millions of people. While the USDA says funding is assured for this month, it is not as clear about what to expect in the future.

USDA wins food safety, loses SNAP in Trump reorganization

On Thursday, budget director Mick Mulvaney unveiled the federal reorganization plan that President Trump set in motion in his second month in office. Under the proposal, SNAP and WIC would be moved from the USDA to a new agency, the Department of Health and Public Welfare.

USDA will name a ‘chief integrity officer’ for public nutrition

The USDA’s senior nutrition official, Brandon Lipps, announced an enhanced focus on program integrity for the agency’s 15 public nutrition programs, which include SNAP, school meals, and WIC.

Fearing Trump policies, immigrants drop out of SNAP, WIC

Amid fears of a new immigration policy from the Trump administration, immigrants hoping to become permanent U.S. residents are dropping out of public food assistance programs, reports the New York Times.

Immigrants cautious of food assistance in Trump era, experts say

Undocumented immigrants have become cautious of seeking food aid in the Trump era because of fears they could be targeted for deportation, said a panel of food security experts last week in San Francisco.

Poverty rate, at 12.7 percent, finally sinks to pre-recession level

The U.S. poverty rate fell for the second year in a row and, after years of slow economic recovery, it is back to pre-recession levels, the Census Bureau said in an annual report. The nationwide poverty rate for 2016 was 12.7 percent, down by 0.8 points from the previous year; the rural poverty rate – consistently above the urban rate – was 15.8 percent, down by 0.9 points.

Obesity rates fall for pre-schoolers in poor families

A study by the CDC and USDA shows that obesity rates among children ages 2-4 who are enrolled in the so-called Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. Rates are down in 31 states, said the Trust for America's Health, but the average of 14.5 percent is still too high.