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Anti-hunger advocates oppose limits on food benefits in Farm Bill

© iStock - jetcityimage
Suzanne Potter

(California News Service) Anti-hunger groups are calling on Congress to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - as negotiations continue on the massive 2023 farm bill, due this fall. 

SNAP, known in California as Cal Fresh, provides an average benefit of $6 per person per day. Luis Guardia - president of the Food Research and Action Center - said he wants SNAP benefits to be higher, and more accessible.

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© iStock - Sergei Gnatiuk

"We can achieve this in the program," said Guardia, "by linking benefits to a more realistic food plan, ending time limits for the unemployed, repealing the ban on individuals with a drug felony, dropping extra work requirements for full-time college students, and ending the prohibition on hot prepared foods."

Conservative Republicans are expected to call to restrict access to the program, which serves 12% of Americans - 4.6 million people in California alone

The chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson - R-Howard - has called for "reconsideration" of money allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act to climate-friendly agricultural programs. 

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© iStock - Melissa Kopka

Mike Lavender, policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, said the farm bill is an opportunity to put our values into practice.

"We're here to urge house farm bill leaders to deliver a solid bipartisan farm bill," said Lavender, "one that protects and strengthens anti-hunger and climate spending programs, and then includes worker protections."

Advocates would like to see the Farm Bill include national rules to require water and rest breaks for farm workers.