Federal: Farm Bill

What is the Farm Bill and why is it so important to addressing hunger?

What is the Farm Bill? 

The Farm Bill is the primary legislation that shapes and funds most of the food and agricultural programs in the United States including large parts of our nutrition assistance programs. Congress must pass a new Farm Bill every four or five years otherwise several provisions expire. 

Why does the Farm Bill matter?

Project Bread closely monitors the Farm Bill because it determines the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which currently helps over 38 million low-income Americans[1], including over 770,000 in Massachusetts [2], afford an adequate diet.

In addition to SNAP, the nutrition title of the Farm Bill also authorizes and funds:

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides emergency food and nutrition assistance primarily through food banks.

Commodity Supplemental Food Assistance Program (CSFP), which provides commodity food to low-income seniors. Administrated by the food banks in Massachusetts.

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers markets.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which provides free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day in elementary schools.

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, which allows states to fund programs that incentivize SNAP clients to purchase fruits and vegetables. FINI provided the funds to launch the Healthy Incentive Program (HIP) in 2017 in Massachusetts

What’s happening now?

On December 12th, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which will protect and maintain the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the over 450,000 Massachusetts households [2] who rely on the program to buy enough food each month.

The 2018 Farm Bill will also provide modest funding increases to the SNAP Education & Training and the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant. 

What Can I Do?

1. Sign-up for Project Bread’s Action Team to receive action alerts and updates on the Farm Bill and other nutrition programs. 

2. Post on social media about the importance of SNAP using the hashtag #SNAPMatters. Be sure to tag Project Bread so we can retweet or share (@projectbread)

[1] July 2018, USDA
[2] December 2018, Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance Performance Scorecard