After two years, the House and Senate Agricultural committees have released a bipartisan agreement on a Farm Bill that Wholesome Wave supports. We commend Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and her House counterpart Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), as well as Minority Members Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for their leadership in delivering a bill that maintains key provisions that are critical for the millions of food insecure Americans and provides financial assistance for small and mid-sized farms.
While we are disappointed to see $8 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), we are relieved to see that they are significantly less than the $40 billion cuts proposed in the earlier House version of the Farm Bill.
We support this bipartisan piece of legislation that includes mandatory funding for nutrition incentives at $20 million per year, for 5 years, as well as increased funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, Community Food Projects, Specialty Crop Block Grants, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Beginning Farmers and the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The inclusion of funding for nutrition incentives along with these additional innovative programs, will help increase access to affordable, healthy, locally grown food for the millions of Americans throughout the country who live in poverty and struggle to put good food on their family tables, while supporting the growth of local and regional food systems.
The bill passed in the House today with a vote of 251-166 and will now be turned over to the Senate for a full vote as early as next week. Wholesome Wave urges the Senate to pass this important Farm Bill that once again marries nutrition and agriculture, and includes program funding that supports our nation’s most vulnerable while ensuring viable food commerce for America’s small and mid-sized farmers.