Tag: Department of Agriculture

Black farmers to Receive Payouts in $1.2 Billion From Federal Lawsuit Settlement

After years of protests and lawsuits, black farmers in the south will begin receiving payments this week as a result of a $1.2 billion settlement in their discrimination case against federal agriculture officials. About 18,000 farmers in total are expected to receive checks over the next few days.black farmers

This is the second round of funding for black farmers. Thousands received payments in 1999 as part of a settlement in a class-action suit over allegations of widespread discrimination by federal officials who denied loans and other assistance to black farmers because of their race.

“After all these years and all the fighting, this is what it’s all about,” says John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which pushed Congress for the settlement. “It doesn’t take away what the government has done to us, but for those who receive the payments it will make a difference in their lives.”

About 40,000 black farmers filed claims in the $1.2 billion settlement, which ended a discrimination case against the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2010, President Obama signed the bill authorizing compensation for discrimination in farm lending by federal officials.  Black farmers will receive settlement payments of $62,500, including $50,000 for the claim and $12,500 for taxes. Of the $1.2 billion, about $91 million was approved for attorney fees.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts ‘State Dinner’ for Top Junior Chefs

President Barack Obama talks with Makenna Hurd of Mascot, Tenn., right, and Noah Koch, of Waterville, Maine, right, at the second annual White House Kids' "State Dinner" Tuesday, July 9, 2013, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. First lady Michelle Obama welcomed 54 children to the White House for creating winning recipes as part of a healthy lunch contest. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama talks with Makenna Hurd of Mascot, Tenn., right, and Noah Koch, of Waterville, Maine, right, at the second annual White House Kids’ “State Dinner” Tuesday, July 9, 2013, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. First lady Michelle Obama welcomed 54 children to the White House for creating winning recipes as part of a healthy lunch contest. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama says fifty-four kids who earned a trip to the White House by winning a nationwide recipe contest are showing how talented, creative and brilliant young people can be.  It’s the second year the first lady has hosted the kids’ “state dinner.”

The contest for 8-to 12-year-olds is sponsored by the Epicurious food website and the departments of Agriculture and Education. It drew a batch of more than 1,300 entries that were whittled to 54 winners — one from each of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

Mrs. Obama singled out a few of the champion culinary creations during Tuesday’s meal, including Confetti Peanut Ginger Party Pasta from Missouri, Pan-seared Mississippi Catfish on a Bed of River Rice and Slam Dunk Veggie Burger from Texas.  President Barack Obama also made an unannounced appearance at the dinner in the White House East Room. He told the junior chefs they are showing that food can be both healthy and fun.

Copyright 2013 article by Darlene Superville, The Associated Press via thegrio.com

New Federal Rules Aim To Rid Schools Of Junk Foods

New Rules Aim To Rid Schools Of Junk Foods1

Schools across the United States will get a face-lift when it comes to their vending machine selections. When a kid is having a snack attack they won’t be able to find things like high-calorie sports drinks and candy bars. Gone are the days of Flaming Hot Cheetos. Those items will be replaced with diet drinks, granola bars and other healthier items.

The Agriculture Department said Thursday that for the first time it will make sure that all foods sold in the nation’s 100,000 schools are healthier by expanding fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits to almost everything sold during the school day. Not only will this affect vending machine choices but as well as foods from the “a la carte” lines and bake sales.

The Associated Press reports that one of the biggest changes under the rules will be a near-ban on high-calorie sports drinks, which many beverage companies added to school vending machines to replace high-calorie sodas that they pulled in response to criticism from the public health community. Under the new rule, sodas and sports drink under 60 calories or less in a 12 ounce serving would be allowed in high schools. Elementary and middle schools could sell only water, carbonated water, 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, and low fat and fat-free milk, including nonfat flavored milks.

Some schools in the U.S. have already adjusted their menus, but not everyone has been an advocate.

From Yahoo News:

Sandra Ford, president of the School Nutrition Association and director of food and nutrition services for a school district in Bradenton, Fla., said in prepared testimony that the healthier foods have been expensive and participation has declined since the standards went into effect. She also predicted that her school district could lose $975,000 a year under the new “a la carte” guidelines because they would have to eliminate many of the foods they currently sell.

“The new meal pattern requirements have significantly increased the expense of preparing school meals, at a time when food costs were already on the rise,” she said.

Ford called on the USDA to permanently do away with the limits on grains and proteins, saying they hampered her school district’s ability to serve sandwiches and salads with chicken on top that had proved popular with students.

The Government Accountability Office said it visited eight districts around the country and found that in most districts students were having trouble adjusting to some of the new foods, leading to increased food waste and decreased participation in the school lunch program.

One advocate in healthier eating in schools has always been Michelle Obama. She believes parents can’t always police what their children consume when they’re in school, so healthier options should be mandatory.

“That’s why as a mom myself, I am so excited that schools will now be offering healthier choices to students and reinforcing the work we do at home to help our kids stay healthy,” Mrs. Obama said in a statement.

article by Yesha Callahan via clutchmagonline.com