WHAT IS THE FARM BILL?
The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that governs most federal food and farming programs. It impacts access to nutritious food for the nearly 34 million of people in the United States facing hunger.
The Farm Bill must be reauthorized by Congress nearly every five years, and it is currently up for reauthorization. This provides Congress with a key opportunity to improve and strengthen critical federal nutrition programs – like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) also known as the Senior Box program. Together, these programs help millions of families keep food on the table and ease the strain on the charitable food network.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Pandemic-era food assistance has been rolled back, while grocery prices remain high. Feeding America food banks like Philabundance are seeing an increased need in our community and all across the country. Our neighbors are facing a hunger cliff, and the charitable food network is struggling to fill the gap and meet the soaring demand. Right now, Congress has the chance to protect and strengthen food assistance programs through the Farm Bill. Our legislators must come together to pass a strong bipartisan Farm Bill that supports food banks and the people we serve.
Download our SNAP Advocacy Booklet!
WHAT ARE WE ADVOCATING FOR?
Philabundance is dedicated to uplifting the voices of our neighbors in need and advocating for programs and policies that ensure that all people have the food they need to thrive. Along with our Feeding America network, we are calling on Congress to:
- Increase funding for TEFAP food purchases. A steady, continuous stream of TEFAP foods is essential to help ensure food banks can continue serving everyone facing hunger in their communities.
- Increase funding for TEFAP storage and distribution and continue funding TEFAP infrastructure grants. These funds will help food banks offset the cost of storing and transporting USDA foods, especially in rural communities. They will help cover expenses like refrigeration and fuel.
- Increase funding and streamline state participation in the TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Program by removing the state match and allowing states to prioritize projects for donated food or food purchased at low cost from local growers and producers.
- Increase SNAP’s purchasing power by basing SNAP benefits on the Low-Cost Food Plan to bring benefit amounts in line with grocery prices and need.
- Simplify and streamline SNAP eligibility and enrollment processes to improve access for seniors, college students, immigrants and other groups who face barriers to participating in the program.
- End SNAP’s three-month time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents and adequately fund and improve state employment and training programs. This will help ensure people have the food and training opportunities they need to get back on their feet.
- Create parity in food assistance for U.S. territories by allowing them to transition from capped Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) block grants to full participation in SNAP.
- Ensure sovereignty for Native communities by allowing tribal governments to administer federal nutrition programs and allowing SNAP participants to also receive benefits through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
- Reauthorize and streamline reporting for CSFP to support the nutrition needs of seniors.
Philabundance CEO Loree Jones Brown testifying before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on the need for strong nutrition programs in the Farm Bill
In particular, we support Marker Bills such as the Farmers Feeding Families Act, Closing the Meal Gap Act, Senior Hunger Prevention Act, Enhanced Access to SNAP Act, Improving Access to Nutrition Act, Lift the Bar Act, and the Hot Foods Act. These bills would strengthen benefit adequacy and equitable access, while addressing the challenges faced by food banks. Marker Bills are legislation introduced by Congress that are not intended to pass as standalone bills, but rather with the goal of being included in an omnibus bill like the Farm Bill. To learn more about our Farm Bill policy recommendations, check out this One-Pager and visit Feeding America Action.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION?
Join Philabundance in urging Congress to pass a strong Farm Bill that makes big improvements to and investments in critical federal nutrition programs like SNAP, TEFAP, and CSFP. Here’s how you can be an advocate today:
- Use this template to email your legislators. Be sure to personalize your message.
- Call your legislators and make your voice heard. Dial the Capitol Switchboard (201-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your legislator’s office.
- If you don’t already know who your elected officials are, go to Congress.gov to find out.
This chance only comes around once every five years—and this year, it’s all hands on deck! Your representatives need to hear from you. Tell them to pass the strongest possible Farm Bill to help end hunger!