January is nearly over, but 2018 has only just begun, and it’s shaping up to be a big year for anti-hunger advocates. September 30, 2018 marks the expiration of the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the Farm Bill. That means that the USDA and Congress are busy at work putting together a brand-new Farm Bill to reauthorize and fund dozens of federal programs for the next five years.
But the Farm Bill’s name can be deceiving. As former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack put it, “the bill covers much more than farms and farmers […] every farm bill also affects conservation, trade, nutrition, jobs and infrastructure, agricultural research, forestry and energy.”
No matter your vocation – or whether you’ve ever stepped foot on a farm or not – the Farm Bill should be on your radar. It’s a massive bill with massive importance for every American that eats food, drinks water, uses fuel….or believes in ending hunger once and for all.
The majority of the Farm Bill is devoted to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and other nutrition programs that incentivize healthy eating and ease the burden of food insecurity for millions of families every year. In fact, the St. Louis Area Foodbank partners with the federal government to operate a number of Farm Bill programs – like the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program – on behalf of food insecure people living in Missouri and Illinois.
Thanks to the Farm Bill, we make a bigger impact in our region and in the lives of our hungry neighbors every day. Our government partnership, codified in the Farm Bill, demonstrates what our other partnerships with non-profits, businesses, manufacturers and farmers also teach us – that we can do more and do better for those in need when we work together.
Certainly the Farm Bill is about programming and funding.
But it’s also about our collective, national commitment to meeting people’s most basic needs and fundamental rights.
That’s why we at the St. Louis Area Foodbank have signed a letter alongside Feeding America and other anti-hunger organizations urging Congress to reauthorize our new Farm Bill with this commitment and responsibility in mind. From strong SNAP funding to programs that connect farmers’ excess food to those in need, we believe policy can make a real difference in the lives of the 1 in 8 Americans facing hunger.
We will be keeping a close eye on the Farm Bill in the months to come. We hope you’ll join us.
In the meantime, consider taking action today by lending your voice to the cause! Sign this petition and tell Congress why our country’s commitment to feeding the hungry is important to you and why we should protect federal nutrition programs in the next Farm Bill.
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Check back here to learn more about the Farm Bill, the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s policy priorities, and the ways you can join us in anti-hunger advocacy.