President Obama Signs New Farm Bill Into Law

President Obama Signs New Farm Bill Into Law

Mon 10 Feb 2014

Story by The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)

At the end of last week, President Obama signed the new five-year farm bill into law.

The President was joined at the signing ceremony at Michigan State University by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman (and MSU alumnus) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The long awaited bill (which will be widely referred to as the 2014 Farm Bill, though its formal name is the Agriculture Act of 2014) has taken some time to get passed, with two expirations and years of deliberation following the 2008 bill which expired in 2012.

Much of the debate over the bill has been around the food aid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP), formally known as food stamps.

In the writing of the new bill the Senate proposed cuts of $4 billion to this program and the House proposed cuts of near to $40 billion. The final bill sees $8.5 billion cut from SNAP, which although are not as drastic as the $40 billion proposed, these cuts will still impact thousands of families and children who rely on this program.

Congress did however support other initiatives in the farm bill, which will improve access to affordable, quality nutrition for those most vulnerable to hunger. According to the Public Health Institute statement on the passage of the farm bill... “Funding levels for state SNAP nutrition education programs are maintained. SNAP retailer standards and stocking requirements are strengthened to ensure SNAP participants have access to more healthy choices when shopping with SNAP benefits. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative is authorized as a USDA program, increasing access to grocery stores and other food retailers in underserved communities. The bill also establishes a new initiative, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grants, which will incentivize SNAP participants to increase their purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables.” Read the full statement here and a statement from the Community Food and Justice Coalition here.

We’ll be looking to the implementation of new initiatives and tracking further outcomes of the new farm bill. Let us know what you think about the new bill by posting on our Food Revolution Community page.

Read more about the Farm Bill and actions over the past few years here.

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)

Image: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition


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