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Agriculture Appropriations Bill - 2014 Updates

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. . .



  • 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



  •  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): Eligibility 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 Commodity 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.




  • 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 SNAP. 





  • The US Department of Agriculture created a resource for you to discover everything within the 2014 Farm Bill.







  • 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.




  • 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.




  • 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.





  • 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 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program abuse and save up to $8 billion. Check out the details here and here.