Amendment 2024-0381h to HB1678 (2024)

Establishing a New Hampshire farm to school local food incentive pilot program.

Revision: Feb. 6, 2024, 3:55 p.m.

Rep. Belcher, Carr. 4

January 31, 2024





Amendment to HB 1678-FN


Amend RSA 425:2-c as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following:


425:2-c  New Hampshire Farm to School Pilot Program.

I.  The department of agriculture, markets, and food shall establish a 2-year pilot program to use grants to reimburse New Hampshire school administrative units for money spent to purchase food from New Hampshire and New England producers.  Only school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program shall be eligible for reimbursement grants.

II.  The department shall administer an open grant request for applications (RFA) process, with the goal of awarding funds to one applicant from each county in the state.  A selection committee will be assembled by the department of agriculture to review the received proposals and select those to be submitted for funding through the pilot program.  The selection committee will be made up of 6 individuals qualified because of their knowledge of New Hampshire agriculture, experience with school food service, school nutrition, or farm-to-school processes, shall include one farmer or farmer representative, an expert on childhood nutrition, and may include members from the university of New Hampshire cooperative extension, the department of education, and the department of agriculture, markets, and food.  If each county is not represented in the application process, the selection committee may make a second award to another interested school or school district in another county.

III.  School district applications shall be scored based on criteria and the department shall ensure that the recipients of grants represent a variety of school sizes, geographic locations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Awarded school districts shall participate both years of the pilot program.  The department shall develop guidelines for the implementation of the program.  Such guidelines shall establish a formula for reimbursement, including maximum and minimum reimbursement amounts, based on total student enrollment for each school district.  Reimbursement funds may be used to purchase food.

IV.  Foods purchased under this program shall originate in New Hampshire.  Food purchases by school districts shall include food hub purchases, direct purchases from farms, and purchase through conventional distributors.  The place of origin shall be confirmed through self-attestation from the originating producer, or any other means required by the federal government or the department of agriculture.

V.  Eligible foods shall include dairy, fish, pork, beef, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, cider, and maple syrup.  Processed dairy, minimally processed proteins, and minimally processed produce shall be included.  

VI.  Food may be served in the school breakfast, school lunch or fresh fruit and vegetable programs.  School districts making a claim for reimbursement shall submit a copy of the invoices for eligible purchases monthly.  Products shall be reimbursed at 33.3 percent.  After year one of the grant period, all unspent funds will be reallocated between schools in the pilot program to be expended in year 2 of the pilot program as prescribed by this section.  In an event where participating school districts are unable to continue in year 2 of the pilot, an additional RFA will be released for counties that are no longer represented in the program.  At the end of the pilot program, any unused funds shall lapse to the general fund.

VII.  The department may contract with New Hampshire Farm to School to support program coordination and management.

VIII.  The department shall evaluate the pilot program utilizing objective measures including number of schools served, number of districts served, number of total farms participating, number of organic and sustainable farms participating, and other metrics as indicated by the selection committee.  A report shall be provided to the New Hampshire house of representatives environment and agriculture committee and the education committee and the New Hampshire senate energy and natural resources committee and education committee at the end of each fiscal year about the progress of the pilot program.