Snapshots from the California Farm Bill Listening Session, July 6, 2022
July 19, 2022
Earlier this month, Congressmember Jim Costa held a Farm Bill listening session at Fresno State University. Various stakeholders such as food producers, farmers, ranchers, and advocates had an opportunity to offer recommendations and improvements for the next 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. With the 2018 Farm Bill set to expire on September 30, 2023, discussions about the Farm Bill are taking place in D.C. and across the country.
CAFB, Central California Food Bank, Fresno State University, and California Fresh Fruit Association spoke on improvements and recommendations for the Nutrition title.
Here are some highlights from the event:
24% of people in California’s 16th district are on SNAP…Fresno is considered the third hungriest city in America. That is why SNAP is so critical to fighting hunger in the Valley and nationwide.
Congressmember Jim Costa
Converting back to pre-pandemic levels in the Farm Bill will leave food banks ill-prepared to meet the demand in our communities, considering the current economic conditions continue to make access to affordable food more difficult.
Natalie Caples, co-CEO of Central California Food Bank
SNAP is our most effective anti-hunger tool, bringing in $11 billion in federal food benefits, $20 billion in total economic activity, and 272,000 jobs statewide. SNAP benefits need to be made adequate, not cut or restricted…why do we have special rules blocking access to our neighbors in need? College students and immigrants are contributing to the valley economy…the bread basket that puts food on the table for America.
Itzúl Gutierrez, Senior Policy Advocate at CAFB
Watch Itzúl’s full testimony here:
Thank you to Congressmember Jim Costa for hosting a great conversation about the Farm Bill and why SNAP matters! We also want to thank the expert panelists for lifting up the ways in which the Farm Bill can strengthen and expand SNAP.
H.R. 1753 Lee – Improving Access to Nutrition Act – Repeals SNAP’s three-month time limit for out-of-work Americans.
H.R. 1919 Gomez, Harder, Panetta – Enhance Access To SNAP Act (EATS Act) – Eliminates the outdated SNAP restrictions for college students.
H.R. 3822 Gomez – Allowing Steady Savings by Eliminating Tests Act (ASSET Act) – Eliminates asset tests in SNAP and LIHEAP eligibility, and raises SSI asset limits.
H.R. 4077 Adams – Closing the Meal Gap Act – Increases SNAP benefits by using the Low Cost Meal Plan, removing the cap on the SNAP shelter deduction, and raising the monthly minimum benefit to $25. Authorizes a Standard Excess Medical Deduction for persons who are elderly or have disabilities.
H.R. 5227 Jayapal – Lift the Bar Act – Expands program access to immigrants by eliminating the five-year bar.
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