The Senate released their version of the 2018 Farm Bill on June 8. This bipartisan draft of the bill is expected do better than the House draft, which was shot down last month.
The farm bill, also known as the Agricultural Act, is the food and agricultural budget and policy for the United States. The current bill includes twelve titles that impact farming commodities and livelihood, conservation, trade, rural development, energy, research, horticulture, and nutrition. The SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps) receives its funding from the bill under the nutrition title.
The House version of the bill was largely opposed because of its changes to SNAP. This version expanded SNAP’s work requirements and sought to increase workforce training. These changes would have disproportionately impacted rural and tribal communities that are more limited in access to jobs.
This new Senate draft removes the House’s potentially harmful changes and funding cuts to SNAP. The new version increases the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive funding to $50 million per fiscal year. The 2014 Farm Bill funding was only $20 million annually.
Additionally, the Senate version changes the one location rule regarding SNAP/EBT equipment at farmers markets. The current USDA rule requires each farmers market to have individual SNAP/EBT equipment for every one of their operation sites, which can be extremely costly. The Senate draft gets rid of this rule, and the omission would be a win for farmers markets across the country.
Committee markup in the Senate begins June 13. The goal is to move the bill through the Senate by July 4.
The 2014 Farm Bill expires September 30, 2018. If a new bill is not passed, there could be devastating impacts on farmers, families, and communities.
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To read more about the Senate draft, visit these sites:
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