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Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes promotes farm to school bill in Menomonie

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Menomonie (WQOW)- Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes was in Menomonie on Friday to promote Governor Evers' proposed changes to the farm to school program.

Barnes had breakfast with students at River Heights Elementary Friday morning and learned about the school district's free breakfast program.

Barnes discussed the importance of connecting nearby farms to provide students with locally produced foods in school meals.

Evers is proposing the state agriculture department give preference to school districts with a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunches when awarding grants for the farm to school program.

"We have two different crises that we are facing," Barnes said. "One is food insecurity with far too many of our children and the other is the farm crisis. Here we can look at two really significant challenges with our state and somehow come up with a solution and connect our farm school program."

Governor Evers had called for the legislature to go into special session to take up the bills, but Republican Assembly leader Robin Vos said lawmakers will not be voting on them next week.

"I think it's rather unfortunate that they're going to let down rural Wisconsin in that way," Barnes said. " It's very difficult to say you support our rural communities, our farming community but at the same time look them in the eyes and the face of this large scale crisis that we're facing and tell them no."

The bills still have a future, however. Vos said he'll refer them to committees so they can go through the regular legislative process.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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