SNAP & the Farm Bill

Congress passed the new Farm Bill on February 4, 2014. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law on Friday, February 7th. The Farm Bill includes $8.55 Billion in cuts to SNAP over the next 10 years. The cuts will come from changes to “Heat and Eat” programs operated in 15 states and Washington, DC. North Carolina does not have a “Heat and Eat” program, so the SNAP benefit cuts included in the Farm Bill will not affect NC households that receive SNAP.*

The states affected by the cuts include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. As many as 850,000 low-income households in these states and Washington, DC will lose an average of $90 in monthly benefits.

Read Feeding America’s response to the Farm Bill here, and the response by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) here.

Read a summary of the Farm Bill compiled by the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities here.

*In North Carolina, SNAP is known as Food & Nutrition Services (FNS).

Cuts to FNS on the horizon

Cuts to Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) are scheduled to go into effect on November 1, 2013, resulting in an average benefit of about $1.40 per person per meal. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, North Carolina will experience $166 million in cuts during fiscal year 2014.

The cuts to FNS will come at a particularly difficult time for low-income North Carolinians. The state currently has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country. And, recent reductions in unemployment benefits are expected to impact 170,000 unemployed adults in the state during the second half of 2013.

Read more about the looming cuts to FNS in a report by the NC Justice Center.

*Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) is known as SNAP at the federal level.

Food & Nutrition Services boosts fruit consumption

A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that Food & Nutrition Services (referred to as SNAP by the federal government) boosts consumption of whole fruit.  Click here to access the full report.

Food & Nutrition Services is helping during slow economic recovery

An article in the Huffington Post states that SNAP (or FNS, as it’s known in North Carolina) is helping low-income households recover from the Great Recession.  While the recession technically ended in June 2009, recovery has been slow for many low- and middle-income households.  Unemployment remains high in North Carolina (9.4% as of February 2013, one of the highest unemployment rates in the country).  As NC Policy Watch has reported, many of the jobs created in North Carolina since the end of the recession have been in the low-wage service industry.  As a result, many households continue to need the extra support that Food & Nutrition Services provides.  Historically, as households feel more financially secure, FNS participation decreases.

 

 

FNS helps working people

North Carolina food banksWorking a full-time job in America doesn’t guarantee you will have enough to eat.  Food & Nutrition Services (known as SNAP at the federal level) helps families who need help buying food.  Despite helping more than 47 million people during these challenging economic times, Congress is considering cutting funding for this important safety net.  Read the full article at Yahoo/Takepart.com.

Food & Nutrition Services helps some people stay above poverty line

The U.S Census Bureau recently reported that 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010.  While harsh economic conditions and high unemployment create challenges for many households, Food & Nutrition Services (known as SNAP nationally), helped an estimated 3.9 million Americans stay above the poverty line in 2010.  Households receiving Food & Nutrition Services are able to use their benefits to purchase food, which frees up money for other necessities, such as utilities and medicine.  To read the full summary from the Food Research & Action Center, click here.

USDA Undersecretary discusses common misconceptions about FNS

USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon recently addressed common misconceptions about SNAP (known in North Carolina as Food & Nutrition Services or FNS).  Undersecretary Concannon noted that of the record 44 million Americans receiving SNAP benefits, more than half are children, elderly, and the disabled.  The increase in SNAP participation is due in large part to the harsh economic conditions that continue to make it difficult for Americans to put enough food on the table.  In addition to easing food hardship for those that receive SNAP, the program benefits us all, as it is estimated that for every $5 in new SNAP benefits, about $9 in economic activity is generated.  Undersecretary Concannon further states that USDA has taken successful steps to reduce fraud and ensure payment accuracy.  To read the full article in the Stokes News, click here.

Eastern NC experiencing significant food hardship

The recently released report by the Food Research & Action Center indicates that nearly one in three Eastern North Carolinians experienced food hardship in 2010.  The state’s 1st congressional district ranks second among all 436 congressional districts in the country for food hardship.  G.K. Butterfield, representative of the state’s 1st congressional district, recognizes the importance of federal nutrition programs to address the growing hunger problem.  Rep. Butterfield states that while cuts need to be made to the federal budget, these cuts should not fall on low-income families.  Read the full article at ENCToday.com.

Food Hardship Worsens in North Carolina

A recent report by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) reveals that North Carolina ranks 6th in the nation for food hardship, a downward trend from the state’s ranking as 9th in the nation in 2009.  Among the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with the highest food hardship rates, Winston-Salem, Greensboro-High Point, and Asheville ranked 3rd, 4th, and 7th, respectively.  These numbers highlight the importance of federal nutrition programs, such as Food & Nutrition Services, as well as the role that food banks play in addressing the hunger needs of North Carolinians.  Read the full report here.

More than 50 million Americans struggled to get enough food to eat in 2009

Results from a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicate that more than 50 million Americans didn’t have enough to eat in 2009 because of financial difficulties and a struggling economy.  Food insecurity among U.S. households increased from 2008 but not as much as some had feared.  Programs such as Food & Nutrition Services (known nationally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) have helped many families put food on the table.  One in eight Americans, or 42 million, now use Food & Nutrition Services/SNAP.  Read more about the USDA findings at npr.org.