SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

Elsa Pearson, MPH, is a senior policy analyst at Boston University School of Public Health. She's on Twitter @epearsonbusph.

The closest grocery store is a few miles away and your paycheck doesn't clear until Friday. You even skipped lunch. With no car, only a few dollars and kids at home, you decide dinner will have to, yet again, be the local fast-food restaurant within walking distance. It's cost-effective, but you're already bracing for the "healthy weight" conversation at the pediatrician's next month.

Texas health officials say they’re going to provide next month’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits early due to the federal government shutdown.

After 10 years of consistent gains, the number of immigrant families enrolled in SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, fell by 10 percent in 2018.

New, preliminary research presented this month at the American Public Health Association conference showed the drop was highest for for families who had been in the U.S for fewer than five years. It’s a reflection of what Harvest Public Media and other outlets reported earlier this year: that some families are choosing not to participate in federal benefit programs out of fear it could impact their immigration status.

On a busy football Saturday, fans on both sides of the Iowa-Nebraska line streamed into a tiny grocery store to pick up hamburger, soda and chips.

Store manager Nick Johnson, a third-generation store owner in far southwest Iowa, has long had a front-row seat to the local economy. Times have been tough since the recession, with lots of people losing their manufacturing jobs, though he says that it looks like some of those are coming back. 

And similar to the rest of the country, farm income is down thanks to low crop prices

The Trump administration last weekend publicly released a draft of new rules for people hoping to immigrate legally in the U.S. Overall, the changes would disproportionally affect mixed-status families with low incomes in Texas.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the nation’s largest program to reduce hunger. It’s also the biggest program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But under the White House’s plan to reorganize the federal government, released Thursday, SNAP would have a new home at a revamped Department of Health and Human Services.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the biggest federal program aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that millions of Americans find themselves in — sometimes for a few months, sometimes for several years.

About 16.4 million people who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would not have a say in how to spend about half of their monthly benefits under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

Low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month would see "about half" of their benefits come in the form of a nonperishable, American-grown “USDA Foods package,” or a "Harvest Box," according to a news release Monday from the USDA, which runs SNAP.

Many rural businesses and farms will benefit from the tax overhaul passed Wednesday by Congress. But there’s a catch: If the changes fail to spur economic growth as intended, programs that rural areas rely on could be on the chopping block.

One provision in the massive bill, which President Trump has yet to sign into law, allows small business owners to deduct 20 percent of their business income. It also expands the deduction for small business investment — a popular provision among farmers, who can write off the cost of things like a new tractor.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

A successful program in Michigan that helps hungry families buy more healthy food is expanding across the country.

David Kosling/USDA

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

While Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat who leads the Senate Agriculture Committee, was referring to what proponents heralded as “reform” of some programs, her remarks were accurate on another score. The massive Farm Bill, which will spend $956 billion and set U.S. food policy for the next decade, is no longer the purview solely of agricultural interests.

Not everyone likes the farm bill signed into law on Friday, but at least farmers will be able to start making informed decisions.

The biggest change in the 2014 farm bill is that the subsidies known as direct payments are gone. Instead of the government paying a known amount to farmers each year—at a fixed budget of $5 billion—the new system of subsidies will fluctuate, partly with market forces. That makes it really hard to predict how much the program will cost each year, says Iowa State University ag economist Chad Hart.

More Kansans to work for food stamps

Oct 7, 2013
Aaron Brazell, Technosailor / flickr commons

Last week, Kansas let a 2009 government waiver expire that provided food stamps for the unemployed. Now, able-bodied Kansans between 18 and 49 who do not have dependents, have to work or be in a job training program to have access to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

Farmers in limbo – again – as farm bill expires

Oct 1, 2013
File: Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

The farm bill expired at midnight on Monday, leaving farmers and ranchers across the country guessing at what federal farm policy will look like when they next put their crops in the ground.

minnesota.publicradio.org

Ness County, Kansas, has less than 3 people per square mile and is rich in oil, yet enrollment in the food stamp program is up 480 percent according to a recent Wichita Eagle article.  The increase is not unique to Ness County.  In 2008, national food stamps cost $34.6 billion, and last year that total was $75 billion. 

The Farm Bill: Everybody has an Opinion

Jul 23, 2013
http://ecowatch.com

The farm bill is fraught with opposition.  Some want the bill to stay intact, some want nutrition separated, some want stricter requirements to obtain nutrition assistance, and one blogger wonders if misperception is what’s driving the SNAP debate. 

What you should know about the food stamps debate

Jun 27, 2013
Beautiful Lily/Flickr

  The U.S. House defeated the farm bill last week, after the Senate passed its version of the bill in early June. Both bills include about $500 billion in spending over five years. Few pieces of legislation can produce such sharp divisions, even by Washington standards—but few could have such immediate, significant impact on so many Americans.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

April Segura is a regular at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb. On a warm, May afternoon, the single, stay-at-home mother of three greeted friends and acquaintances while strolling past tables of lettuce and herbs. She hoped to find more asparagus for sale.

“I love asparagus season and it’s probably about to be over,” said Segura, holding two grocery bags with one arm and her one-year-old son, Jeriel, with the other.