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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke to attendees during the Closing General Session of SNA’s 2017 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Atlanta. His visit was highly anticipated, as this is the first time in over 20 years that a Secretary of Agriculture has addressed an ANC audience.
A native of Georgia, Perdue relayed that he was happy to visit his home state (where he served as governor from 2003 to 2011) and said that he can “still feel the love of the lunchroom ladies” from when he was a kid. Audience members were very receptive to his message of working cooperatively to feed the nation’s children. “You mold the lives of the most important people in our country, and that’s our children!”
Perdue received a huge applause when he discussed the proclamation he recently signed which is intended to help overcome operational challenges in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs created by highly restrictive sodium, whole grain-rich and milk requirements.
Perdue stated that USDA has a new motto, “Do right and feed everyone.” Additionally, he went on to explain that he and the USDA staff will continue to work with SNA and its members because frontline operators know these programs. “We trust you!”
After the Closing General Session, Secretary Perdue met with the school nutrition professionals who serve on SNA’s incoming and outgoing Board of Directors to hear first-hand about successes and challenges as schools work to improve menus for students while meeting updated nutrition standards for meals and snacks.
To watch Perdue’s full address, visit the SNA website.