What is the Farm Bill?
Post Contributed by Katia Zogg , SNDA Public Policy Committee Leader
What is the Farm Bill? The Farm Bill is the main piece of legislation that authorizes food policy and agriculture in the United States. Every 5 years, congress considers a new farm bill with this year (2018) being the year for updates and revisions. The Farm Bill was originally created in 1933 as part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which provided subsidies to U.S. farmers during the Great Depression.
The current Farm Bill expired on September 30 and a new version has not been agreed upon with both the House and Senate Agricultural Committee leaders unable to reach a compromise. There is a House version and Senate version of the bill with much debate over the House wanting to include a work requirement for SNAP (Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program). With the proposed SNAP work requirements in the House version, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that in an average month 1.2 million people would lose access to critical food assistance. Additionally, about 265,000 children would lose access from receiving free school meals due to a proposed change to categorical eligibility. SNAP helps 1 in 8 Americans put food on the table and is linked with improved health, lower health care costs, and is extremely impactful in preventing food insecurity. SNAP also keeps more than 8 million people out of poverty, which includes nearly 4 million children.
Sonny Perdue, USDA Secretary, has confirmed that key services and programs will remain even though the fiscal year has ended. With the House in recess until after the midterm elections, the bill will likely not be revisited until sometime in November. Hopefully a Farm Bill can be completed by the end of the year.
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