The Farm Bill: Recent & Impending Cuts to Increase Hunger.
By Jennifer Gilmore
After a three-year impasse, Congress passed the new farm bill in February of this year. Reauthorized every five years, the farm bill is the single largest source of federal funding for hunger-relief programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
While hunger-relief organizations like Feeding America San Diego (FASD), AmpleHarvest.org, and thousands of others work to feed millions of Americans in need, SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger.
Despite the importance of this program, 37 million recipients experienced significant cuts to their monthly benefits when legislation from 2009 expired on November 1, 2013. Additionally, Congress cut $8.55 million in SNAP from the heat-and-eat program over ten years from the new farm bill. While these were the only cuts to the program included in the nutrition title, more than 850,000 households will experience a decrease in their benefits, a disproportionate amount of which are in California.
As the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County, Feeding America San Diego fights hunger on two fronts; through emergency food assistance and SNAP, locally known as CalFresh. Following the November cuts, we saw a drastic increase in the number of families looking for emergency food assistance. As California’s families are set to experience another round of cuts from the new farm bill, Feeding America San Diego and regional food banks expect to see even more need.
Supporting hunger-relief organizations like Feeding America San Diego and AmpleHarvest.org by donating your time, food and funds are a great way to make a difference in the fight against hunger. I also encourage you to voice your support of federal and state nutrition programs like SNAP by contacting your local legislators. Advocates like you help us promote and sustain policies that America’s families rely on to put food on the table.