Farm Bill nutrition 101

Facts about SNAP in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture passed the most recent version of the Farm Bill in February 2014. This large bill is a group of laws regarding nutrition, agriculture, conservation and forest policy. It is updated and passed every five years and creates the direction of public programs and funding to these areas. Title IV is the nutrition section of the bill. It is divided into two different parts: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Additional Nutrition Programs. Michigan State University Extension works closely with the SNAP.

The bill seeks to decrease waste in SNAP by:

  • Providing money to prevent abuse of SNAP benefits
  • Preventing lottery winners who won large sums from getting SNAP benefits
  • Being more specific about the college students who can get benefits (focusing more on non-traditional students)
  • Attempting to identify families with the greatest need

The bill also tries to increase access to healthy foods by making sure retailers who accept SNAP benefits are carrying a variety of staple foods such as fruits and vegetables. Finally, the SNAP portion of the bill increases education by funding programs that:

  • Help people getting benefits choose healthy foods and engage in exercise
  • Keep and grow training opportunities for those who do not make enough money to support their families (including those who may need transportation or child care)

A goal of the Additional Nutrition Programs is to increase access to healthy foods for vulnerable and minority populations. This includes:

  • Increasing money to food banks
  • Supporting access to fruits and vegetables in schools and service institutions
  • Keeping funding for farmers market coupons for seniors
  • Increasing access to culturally appropriate foods in food assistance programs
  • Funding loans and grants to improve access to healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in food deserts

The Farm Bill is very long and complex. A summary of each section of the Farm Bill can be found on the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry website

Related Events

Related Articles