March 08, 2005

Crapo-Harkin Bill To Boost Fruit, Vegetable Sales

Senatorsâ?? measure adds to school and tribal lunch programs

Washington, DC â?? Both students and farmers will benefit through legislation introduced by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. Crapo and Harkin want to expand the $6 million Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program (FVPP) created as part of the 2002 Farm Bill. The Crapo-Harkin proposal would expand the program to offer fruit and vegetables to schools in all 50 states and tribal schools.â??This is a win-win proposal for students, schools, and agriculture,â?? Crapo said. â??More of our farmersâ?? world-renowned fruits and vegetables will be made available to students nationwide who will benefit from having healthy snacks. And at a time when there are so many concerns about increasing obesity rates, it will encourage more healthy eating habits among our students. The pilot program demonstrated a number of successes, including increased attention in class, a reduction in consumption of less healthy food, and an increased awareness and preference for a variety of fruits and vegetables. I expect that Idaho students and farmers will benefit significantly from this program.â??Among the Idaho groups that are supportive of expanding the program are the Idaho Growers Shippers Association, the National Potato Council, the U.S. Apple Association and the Northwest Horticultural Council; all are members of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.In the 2002 Farm Bill, Congress authorized a Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program in 2003 in 25 schools each in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa, and seven schools in the Zuni Nation in New Mexico. The Crapo-Harkin measure expands the pilot program to include 20,000 students in each state and 20,000 students in tribal schools. Most schools must meet certain criteria regarding free and reduced school lunches, and will then be selected via lottery. Commodities and other products that have been included in the program are as follows: fresh fruits-apples, pears, grapes, berries, mixed fruit, juice; dried fruits-berries, apple chips, raisins, apricots, dried fruit mixes; and fresh vegetables-carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, mixed vegetables.# # #FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at http://crapo.senate.gov or www.senate.gov/src/radio.