Congress: Pass a Farm Bill that supports food assistance programs before they expire!

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The 2014 Farm Bill has expired without Congress coming to an agreement on renewal. This puts at risk several food assistance programs that millions of American families rely upon. We demand that our elected officials in the 21st district of New York act with urgency to protect these programs that nourish our neighbors. The programs of primary concern are as follows:
 
1.) SNAP – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is imperative for more than 42 million Americans, including nearly 3 million New York residents. That is 1 in 7 New Yorkers. The average SNAP benefit per recipient per day is only $4.50. Any reduction to the funding of this program would put at risk families’ abilities to feed their children, and the elderly’s ability to live independently. SNAP provides Americans with the dignity to put food on their own tables, reduces reliance on emergency food programs like food banks and soup kitchens, and keeps people out of poverty.[1Do not decrease funding to this vital program. Do not vote in favor of any Farm Bill provisions that would implement new work requirements, which are not backed by evidence and would pose a barrier to those with disabilities and those without degrees. Instead, ensure that SNAP’s budget accurately reflects rising need, that its bureaucracy is easy to navigate by those who rely on it, and that its benefits are accompanied by work training programs that provide more permanent routes out of poverty.
 
2.) FINI – The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant program provides funding for local organizations that allow and incentivize SNAP benefits for use in the purchase of fresh produce. Here in NY-21, non-profits like GardenShare receive funds through FINI that allow them to provide resources like financial assistance at farmers’ markets. This grant program also empowers small corner stores to accept SNAP-EBT, benefitting communities across New York state and the nation. Accessibility of nutritious food disrupts the cycle of poverty while supporting the agency of Americans to feed themselves and their families. Programs funded through FINI also support the farmers who allow us all to eat.[2] Without a new Farm Bill, FINI funds will expire on January 1, 2019. Pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that protects and preserves nutrition incentive programs like FINI before they expire this January. Ensure that the integrity of healthful food assistance programs is upheld for the millions of American producers and consumers who rely upon them. Local organizations know the needs of their communities best; do not limit their ability to serve through funding cuts, which would increase pressure on thinly-stretched food banks and soup kitchens.
 
We the undersigned demand that you, our elected officials, act in the best interest of your constituents in New York and across the nation by voting for a bipartisan Farm Bill that supports vital food assistance programs. We insist that urgent action be taken before the expiration of many of these programs on January 1, 2019. Food assistance programs save lives. Vote to preserve and strengthen them, so that 42 million Americans may continue to feed their families and themselves.

 

[1]Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, March 2018, https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_new_york.pdf
[2]National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, https://nifa.usda.gov/program/food-insecurity-nutrition-incentive-fini-grant-program



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