Washington, DC—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, today commending him for the priority that he is placing on the importance of fruits and vegetables of all kinds in USDA’s nutrition programs.
“Secretary Vilsack has taken a very strong stance in support of a healthy diet that includes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, while not pitting one type against the other,” said Lisa Y. Kelley, NCFC’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “Sound science and USDA’s Dietary Guidelines are clear in this regard—there is no nutritional difference between fresh, canned, dried, or frozen fruits and vegetables, and thus they should all be treated equally in federal food assistance programs.”
“Our members here at NCFC also support the Secretary’s goal of encouraging increased fruit and vegetable consumption through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast program,” Kelley continued. “We look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack, others at USDA, and members of Congress as the process to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act begins.”
NCFC is a national association representing America’s farmer cooperatives. There are over 2,500 farmer cooperatives across the U.S. whose members include a majority of our nation’s more than 2 million farmers, ranchers and growers. These farmer cooperative businesses handle, process, and market agricultural commodities and related products; furnish farm supplies; and provide credit and associated financial services. Earnings from these activities are returned to their members on a patronage basis. Farmer cooperatives also provide jobs for nearly 300,000 Americans, many in rural areas, with a combined payroll of over $8 billion.
Additional information about NCFC can be found at http://www.ncfc.org.