About 13% of Western Mass. residents are food insecure, a rate higher than any other food bank service area in the state.
In the flurry of information surrounding the “fiscal cliff” deal struck just after New Year’s was the extension of the U.S. Farm Bill. In a move to avoid a drastic spike in the price of dairy products (a gallon of milk was projected to cost $7) the 112th Congress passed an 11th hour deal to extend the current 2008 Farm Bill legislation through September 30th 2013.
Tied with the farm bill is all funding for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) which throughout much of 2012 had been the target of deep spending cuts. With the extension of the bill, SNAP benefits will remain at their current level through September 30th, 2013.
While benefits for SNAP clients will remain constant, a cut of $110 million was made to SNAP nutrition education funding. In a statement Feeding America noted, “Local programs have budgeted for this funding, meaning that this cut will be highly disruptive.” The cut represents a 25 percent reduction in the amount of nutrition education funding.
Looking ahead, the discussion on cuts to SNAP funding has been given a reset and will be at the forefront of Congressional talks for much of 2013. If you would like to stay up to date on the latest information on SNAP and how proposed changes may affect Massachusetts families, follow our blog or advocacy page, or sign up to receive advocacy alerts here.Comments Off
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