As the father of three daughters, we are, like most parents, living with non-stop activities. Like many farm and ranch kids, ours are busy taking care of 4-H livestock projects and playing summer sports. Through it all I have determined that these kids know more about healthy living than the folks running the USDA.

As young livestock enthusiasts, they must learn that to do well with their steer, barrow or wether, the animal must eat a balanced diet and exercise a lot. In the process of providing feed and exercise for their show animal, they automatically learn what is important for themselves.

As you may know, one year ago the USDA put forth new school dietary guidelines that restricted the fat and protein served in school meals. In fact, the maximum amount of protein that could be served to any age student was 1.5 oz. per day. Don’t they know that protein builds muscle?

On June 28, the USDA posted the final rule in the Federal Register on the national school lunch and breakfast programs. They also announced the new restrictions on all snacks that can be sold in schools. They continue to demonize foods instead of understanding nutrition.


For example no sports drinks or regular soda may be sold. This shows a complete ignorance of the research proving that consumption of diet soda increases weight gain. "Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised," stated study researcher Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D., a professor and chief of clinical epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio's School of Medicine.

Empty calories and not allowing the students to eat foods that elicit a feeling of satiety will not promote a healthy learning environment in our nation’s schools.

Kids across this country have learned that feeding a junior livestock animal a balanced diet from all food groups combined with exercise is the absolute best way to compete. When will the new regime at USDA catch up with their knowledge?