The Agriculture Department is conducting a pilot purchase program whereby schools can buy cooked pork items through the National School Lunch Program.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the Food and Nutrition Service are jointly developing a program allowing schools to order vendor-specific, cooked pork products from suppliers approved by USDA.

"This is a great opportunity for the pork industry to expand its horizons," says Hurley, SD producer Steve Schmeichel.

"Obviously, this opportunity is great to push pork supply and also to introduce pork to school-age children so it becomes a regular nutritious option for them to choose the rest of their lives," says the chairman of the Pork Checkoff Demand Enhancement Committee.

Meal preference surveys that USDA sent to schools showed pork was a definite choice for school meals.

For more information on pork checkoff-funded programs, log on to www.porkboard.org or call 515-223-2600.