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What is the Farm Bill?

The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that authorizes most federal policies governing food and agriculture programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California. The Farm Bill is reauthorized approximately every five years and sets food and agricultural policy that provides a safety net for our country’s agricultural producers and helps our low-income communities put food on the table. The 2018 Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2023, but the Continuing Resolution H.R. 6363, passed in November of 2023, extended the 2018 Farm Bill until September 30, 2024. Discussions about the Farm Bill are taking place in D.C. and across the country.

California produces nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, yet 1 in 5 Californians — that’s about 8 million people — currently struggle with food insecurity. SNAP helps support 5 million Californians, brings in about $11 billion in federal food benefits, $20 billion in total economic activity, and 272,000 jobs statewide.

Thankfully, following Congress’s direction, USDA successfully implemented the 2018 Farm Bill, including a long overdue update to the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). 

But in 2023, California is facing a catastrophic hunger crisis. With the signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 and ending of the federal Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023, two critical programs that helped to mitigate hunger over the last three years come to an end. SNAP recipients received their last Emergency Allotments on March 26, 2023, which had been boosting CalFresh benefits since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the highly effective Pandemic-EBT program that has been providing food benefits to children ended after the 2022–23 school year. This has intensified widespread hardship throughout California. 

CAFB Farm Bill Priorities
Western Region Priorities
CA Legislature Letter

Marker Bills that strengthen SNAP & TEFAP:

We must support legislation that strengthens SNAP in the Farm Bill.

Thank you to our Food Banks that lifted up these anti-hunger priorities in Farm Bill Listening Sessions:

Food Banks Provide Comments at Tulare Farm Bill Listening Session, 2/14/23

Snapshots from the California Farm Bill Listening Session, July 6, 2022

Learn more about the Farm Bill:

Check out these resources for more information on the Farm Bill.

Take Action:

Take action now to support anti-hunger initiatives in the Farm Bill.

Questions? Itzúl Gutierrez (itzul.gutierrez@cafoodbanks.org) or Becky Silva (becky@cafoodbanks.org)

*This page was last updated on May 2, 2024

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