Proposed Farm Bill Could Mean Significant Cut to Food Stamps

The passing of the House's farm bill Wednesday may affect at least 850,000 people with serious cuts, which includes 10 to 13 percent of people in the tri-state region.
About 80 percent of the money in the farm bill goes to food and nutrition programs.

But that's a cut in funding for what's now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps program.

Last November when funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ended, SNAP recipients lost nearly $30 dollars a month from their benefits.

Now, they face the possibility of losing three times as much under the proposed farm bill.

The head of the local food bank, Linda Scheid, says this farm bill puts dollars ahead of people. "It's very difficult for those families in need and its really sad to see that budget issues and financial problems are being resolved at the expense of people who are missing on of the basic of human needs and that's having enough food to eat," said Scheid, executive director of the Food Bank of Siouxland. A cart of items like two gallons of milk, two gallons of orange juice, eggs, meat and more is what a family on food stamps would lose if the farm bill stays as is.
Monthly, this is $90 dollars worth of groceries that a family can't buy to feed themselves. "Think about giving up nearly hundred dollars worth of benefits and that might be half of your food budget or more and knowing you don't have a way to replace it.It's not like... well we just will put less money into our rent payment or less money into our- our car payment or not put as much gas in the car. It's one of those situations that's critical," said the hunger advocate. And these potential cuts will have widespread effects beyond just those who receive food stamps. "I expect this upward trend we've already been experiencing in terms of need, in terms of demand, in terms of pounds that we're distributing, that has a high probability of increasing yet again," she said. Ultimately, the potential cuts mean places like the Food Bank, food pantries and meal programs will have to step up their efforts in finding financial help to assist those in need.
While the bill may cut food stamp benefits, it would also increase funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program.
Part of that program helps organizations, like the Food Bank of Siouxland, keep their pantries fully stocked.
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