K-12 Blog

USDA With New Guidance on 2012-13 Meal Patterns In Schools

Posted: January 11, 2013

Dear Patron and Industry Members –
Happy New Year! Since we spoke last, there have been some major changes in our collective worlds. First off, USDA has provided us with new guidance on the meal pattern rule, eliminating the maximums on grains and proteins for the remainder of 2012-13 while still keeping in place the minimums and the calorie threshold. USDA has stated it will reassess for next year. We as industry need to unite with school nutrition operators to put pressure on USDA to give us the specifics for 2013-14 immediately. It is impossible to write and process bids for pricing when we don’t know where the meal pattern rule is going. It’s time for us all to come together.

In addition, following the departure of Frank DiPasquale, SNA is now being led by Acting Chief Executive Officer Patricia Montague. I met with her in December, and take my word for it—she is the real deal. It was a very refreshing meeting full of can-do and must-do attitude. I know that the SNA headquarters office and the SNA Board already have seen great examples of just why she was put in that position.

As an example of her leadership, Patti and Leah Schmidt both sat in at the Public Policy & Legislation Committee meeting, where we all spent time crafting the 2013 Legislative Issue Paper in preparation for SNA’s Legislative Action Conference in March. They stated at the beginning of the meeting that they were there to observe and support what the committee felt membership would like to see included in the Issue Paper. It is a new era!

As it relates to the Issue Paper, as I am writing this, the Board is in the process of reviewing and voting on the acceptance of the current language. In all my years of doing this, I have never seen such a strong request by membership that speaks to the specific needs of today. I am very excited for all of you to see this year’s Legislative Issue Paper. This also will show you it’s a new era.

Not only did we select leaders to run the country in 2012, but we also selected a new Industry Representative for the SNA Board of Directors. The voters have spoken, and Kevin Woods, SNS, vice president of sales and marketing for Globe Food Equipment Company, will take over in this role starting August 1, 2013. He is a good guy and will do a great job. Currently, Kevin is the CNIC Co-Chair and sits on the Industry Advisory Board. Congratulations, Kevin!

The last year and a half has been very tumultuous for us all and has strained the fiber of our industry relations and membership, but remember that through challenges come opportunities. Trees would fall over if it wasn’t for wind putting stress on the roots that strengthen the overall tree. I am very excited about where we are all going in 2013—we have great leadership in Sandra Ford, Leah Schmidt and Julia Bauscher. With the addition of Patti Montague leading the SNA staff, we are in the right place at the right time with the right people.

I look forward to seeing many of you at CNIC next week to further the conversation of coming together as a community. Have a great 2013!

Gary D. Vonck
KeyImpact Sales & Systems
SNA Industry Representative

Published in – Industry Insider: News from SchoolNutrition.org    Vol. 11, No. 1 – Jan. 11, 2013

About the Author:


Gary Vonck

VP - Education Division

Gary Vonck has been with KeyImpact since 2007, adding to an impressive 40-year foodservice career. His knowledge and passion for child nutrition are unsurpassed. Gary oversees the Education Division, which includes sales, bid, and commodity teams across the entire nation.

Gary is an active member of the SNA and was the first and only broker/agency representative on the School Nutrition Association’s Industry Advisory Board, as the appointed Industry Representative, in 2008 and again 2014. Gary has also served on numerous SNA Task Forces and co-chaired several SNA events. Gary was also on the NSFMI national advisory council. In January 2013, Gary was awarded the Silver Friend of Child Nutrition FAME Award.

Gary Vonck is based in Illinois and can be reached at gvonck@kisales.com.