The Farm Bill
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The Farm Bill guides funding for federal farm and food policies. This includes the Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP includes assistance for struggling families and funding for free and reduced school meals for children in need.
The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years. On Monday, June 10 the U.S. Senate passed their version of the Farm bill, which would cut $4 billion from SNAP over a decade. The House version, which is expecting a vote in a few days, threatens to cut $20.5 billion from SNAP. If the House version passes, it is expected to go to a conference committee where the House and Senate will confer and negotiate a compromise on the bills.
Who does SNAP feed?
- 45% of SNAP recipients are children. Of these, 66 % are children (age 5-17) who depend on SNAP for school meals.
- More than 1 in 7 Georgia families participate in SNAP
- SNAP participants must be at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which translates into $ 30,615/year for a family of four. Families with the greatest need receive the largest benefits. (Click here to see benefit amounts)
- Over 91% of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes below $23,550 (for a family of four)
- About 55% of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes less than $11,775 (for a family of four).
Why is SNAP important?
The bottom line is that If SNAP is cut, children will go hungry. And when children are hungry, they get sick more often, do poorer in school, and are less likely to graduate from high school.
Georgia has more than 700,000 citizens at risk for hunger. More than one out of four Georgia children lives in poverty. The primary food source for children at risk of hunger are school meals. Outside of school, dinner and summertime gaps are filled by federally-funded summer and after school meal programs and SNAP.
If the House version of the Farm Bill becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 210,000 children will lose access to free school meals tied to their SNAP eligibility. In addition, families using SNAP will have a considerable reduction in their already meager benefits.
Remember, more than 417,000 Georgians, or 8.6 %, are unemployed (and 45% of them have been out of work for more than 26 weeks).
Step 2: Paste this message into the contact box provided when you click your officials name below:
“Please reject the harmful cuts to SNAP contained in the House and Senate Farm Bills. 1 in 4 of Georgia’s children is food insecure. Cutting SNAP will increase hunger and poverty, and shift the pain of budget cuts onto those who are not responsible for creating the federal deficit. For many of Georgia’s kids, SNAP is the difference between going to school hungry and going to school ready to learn.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-01)
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-02)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-03)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-04)
Rep. John Lewis (D-05)
Rep. Tom Price (R-06)