Updates are related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) & SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed) in the Farm Bill
Before you dive into these updates, understand these terms and background behind them. . .
- Farm Bill Primers -
- "SNAP" - The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has prepared this brief and website.
- "SNAP-Ed" - SNAP-Ed Connection lays out the basics of SNAP-Ed.
- The Farm To School blog has updates, news, articles, and resources for their initiative which is found within the Farm Bill.
- The process to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can be streamlined for those given a certain amount of heating assistance. Some governers undermined SNAP cuts through schemes like the one found in this article. In the future, policy makers could try to cut SNAP in two ways: increase the minimum heating assistance payment that states are required to make or tighten eligibility requirements.
- The Farm Bill 2014 set aside money to test how incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables will affect the health status of SNAP households. Applications were already due (December 15th).
- The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program was seeking applicants to propose a variety of projects focused on improving health through increased purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- In September, the Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger and the Food Trust dislike like the idea of added costs for stores allowing Electronic Benefit payments from SNAP recipients.
- Future movement regarding the Agricultural Act - A slight increase for SNAP-Ed from $401 million in FY 2014 to $407 million in FY 2015
- Today, the House is discussing the implementation of pilot work programs for SNAP participants. The goal is to reduce dependency on federal programs. More information coming soon!
- Federal Update: Congress returned to session and is discussing the federal funding bill which extends at current spending levels all federal programs and operations through December 11.
- Noticeable cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) are happening in 4 states.
The 113th United States Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, formerly the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 and known as the Farm Bill. Here is an infographic that explains it. And, here are some of the main outcomes of the Act:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) funding is restored to Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act Levels ($401 million).
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Elegibility criteria were maintained at 2008 levels. The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) budget was reduced in 17 states. Over the next ten years, this reduction is predicted to decrease the SNAP budget by $8.6 billion. SNAP retailers are required to have a wider variety of staple food items. Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) can now be considered SNAP retailers. SNAP can now be used by seniors who receive non-profit home delivery services.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): This program received increased funding, now at $205 million
- The Comodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): Entry into this program will hopefully be approved in more than 6 states. This is dependent on on funds appropriated by congress.
- The Senior Farmers Market Program (SFMP): This program was reauthorized.
- The Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program: This program was reauthorized at $5 million. It is required to hold a pilot program in five states that assesses the delivery of produce in all its forms (fresh, frozen, canned, etc.)
- Regional and local food programs: The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grants will continue to increase access and reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables for SNAP recipients. The Farmers Market Promotion Program was reauthorized. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative received $125 million.
- The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) that includes Human Nutrition Research Centers (HNRC) maintained their funding to research ways toward better nutrition, to eliminate hunger, increase food security and healthy food systems. They are posed to eliminate diet-related health disparities, including obesity and to ensure the availability of nutrition monitoring and food composition data. The Foundation For Food and Agriculture Research is a new nonprofit corporation designed to supplement USDA’s research activities in this area.
- Funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grants was maintained. These grants provide food safety and nutrition research, along with availability of diverse fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Information was derived from the Academy of Nutrition and DIetetics Website.
- The House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee held a hearing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. An archive of statements, testimonies, and the hearing can be accessed here.
- There was a proposal to reform the nation's safety net for low-income families and individuals. The Expanding Opportunity in America initiative would fold a number of programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into an opportunity grant to each state. This proposal is unlikely to pass, and a better one will be presented next year.
- The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition conducted a hearing to examine the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in relation to other Federal assistance programs.
- Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee on the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill. Click here to watch the hearing and to read his testimony. So far, 17 outreach and listening sessions, as well as additional stakeholder outreach agency level meetings, were held about the process. Vilsack's update on nutrition programs may be found beginning on page 5.
- The US Department of Agriculture launched a website that provides details on Farm Bill implementation and the Economic Research Service launched a website highlights some of the economic implications of the new programs and provisions. Here is the press release.
- There are proposals in state legislatures every year that affect national Farm to School programs. Here is an overview of recent state legislation across the country.
- Watch this video as political leaders debate the status of the “Heat and Eat” program that provides automatic Supplemental Nutrition benefits to people who qualify for federal heating assistance. Here is the US Department of Agriculture’s Undersecretary’s commentary about the debate
- Entrepreneurs invest inthe new Farm Bill.
Future happenings in regional food systems and nutrition because of the Farm Bill:
- Food Insecurity Pilot: $100 million over five years will be put into this new program to improve food insecurity and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. It’s joint venture between the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Food and Nutrition and Consumer Service, both within USDA. The request for application will be released this summer.
- Community Foods Program: This program focuses on food access as a part of local food system. Find the application here.
- SNAP Benefits for CSA: In the near future, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be accepted for community supported agriculture (CSA) shares.
- Healthy Foods Financing Initiative: This program finances food stores in underserved areas. The US Department of Agriculture is current looking input on how best to implement this initiative.
- Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research: A foundation is being established to fund research activities focused on: plant and animal health, food production, food safety, nutrition and health, agriculture systems and technology and more. The Board will be established this summer.
- Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot: Throughout this study, eight states will have opportunity to take part in a fruit and vegetable procurement program. States that established farm-to-school programs will have priority.
- The US Department of Agriculture gives a hard look at unhealthy offering at convenience stores that accept food stamps.
- The Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications in the Nutrition Title.
- Food stamps are more than food assistance.
- This rule embedded in the Farm Bill might put healthier foods into Arizona convenience stores.
- The US Department of Agriculture created a resource for you to discover everything within the 2014 Farm Bill.
- Huge moves were made in our state government. Hungry Pennsylvanian's won't have to choose between heating and eating! They'll do both!
- The Farm Bill encourages the growth of the local food systems with programs like Farm-to-School, doubling farmers market dollars for SNAP recipients, incentives for new farmers, and so much more.
- This simple infographic explains the dealings of the new Farm Bill.
- How did the Farm Bill become law? Find out the process on this blog.
- Here is a revised summary of the nutrition title in the Farm Bill.
- A detailed Farm Bill discussion by National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will be held over the 5 blog posts titled the "2014 Farm Bill Drill Down" series. Here is the first about various numbers within the bill, and a second about goals to help socially disadvantaged and beginner farmers.
- 3 years in the making, and now, we have a Farm Bill!
- The Farm Bill challenges low-income families but benefits them too. See how.
- How will the Farm Bill affect hungry Pennsylvanians?
- According to this article, the Senate is expected to vote on the Farm Bill by 2:00 PM today.
- For continuous updates on Farm Bill News, click here.
- An article simplifies the SNAP cut intricacies.
- Scroll down this page to get the Farm Bill update about local food system and other opportunities for small farms.
- It appears that the House Farm Bill mandates 5 years of full funding for SNAP-Ed. The Senate will vote on it by next Tuesday, February 3.
- We're on the verge of a new Food and Farm Bill. See what it entails.
- Even with Food Stamp cuts, people will be able to double for their food stamp money at farmers markets.
- The Farm Bill passed the House!
- There are mixed reviews about the Farm Bill as it stands - both positive and negative.
- This graph breaks down Farm Bill funding.
- Today is decision day for the Farm Bill. Here is a Facebook #WhoGoesHungry Photo Album posted by the Food Research Action Center (FRAC). Each photo lists a fact about the impact of proposed cuts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Share Our Strengths provides a short update on Farm Bill negotiations. They also give a fact sheet about why SNAP cuts occurred, a link locate food pantries, and videos with people who in need the SNAP program.
- Here is an update from Hunger Free Pennsylvania." The senate seems to have reached a compromise about budget cuts in the Farm Bill. Read on!
- The hope is to pass a Farm Bill this week! Get the update here.
- NYC food pantries and banks lose half their supplies after Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits were cut.
- Feeding America summarized all the happenings with the Farm Bill over the past couple of weeks.
- How does the Farm Bill help hardworking American families? The US Department of Agriculture released a factsheet with the answers.
- The House and Senate released negotiated agreements this week to fund the government throughout 2014. It includes 12 Appropriation Bills including funds for Agricultural initiatives. We will know by today if this legislation has passed. In the bill, SNAP/SNAP-Ed is detailed on page 54-55 of this document. Funding is under Division A and can be found here (See page 30 of the PDF for details on the SNAP account, including SNAP-Ed). SNAP-Ed funding is set for $401 million for 2014, which would become available to states as authorized. 2015 funds will remain available too.
- Someone recalls their experience on food stamps.
- Poverty rises in the suburbs. Watch the video story here.
- The Secretary of Agriculture speaks to changes in and the progression of the Farm Bill decisions.
- A study links a reduction in the government food budget to an increased diabetes risk in the SNAP-eligible population.
- The house and senate are calling a meeting today to hopefully bring the Farm Bill to a close. The hope is to have the president sign it by MLK day.
- More information unfolds about the dealings within the Farm Bill.
- A radio show, Agripulse Open Mike, talks about global hunger and how the Farm Bill will influence this issue. Listen in.
- The House and Senate are coming to an agreement within the Farm Bill. They hope to close the "Heat and Eat" loophole to reduce the Supplmenetal Nutrition Assistance Program abuse and save up to $8 billion. Check out the details here and here.
- Their were fewer participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program throughout August-September 2013. See the numbers.
- A year in review and what to make of the Farm Bill in 2014
- Without a Farm Bill passed in 2013, predictions of higher milk prices loomed. Officials disagree. Prices won't rise...for now.
- This new year, cross fingers for collaboration and action on Farm Bill policy.