February 8, 2014:
The Senate passed the Farm Bill on February 8th, 2014, and President Obama will most likely sign it within a few days. Although we would have preferred no cuts to SNAP benefits–and this legislation includes an $8.6 billion cut that will affect 850,000 Americans–this cut will NOT impact Arkansas SNAP recipients.
States have leeway in how they choose to operate their SNAP programs. Arkansas has always been conservative in the way we have structured our program, so the option that is being disallowed in the Farm Bill will not apply to Arkansas. SNAP recipients in Arkansas will not experience any further cuts to their monthly benefits beyond what they received in November of 2013 due to the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act SNAP benefit boost.
There are some upsides to the newly adopted Farm Bill that will benefit Arkansas. First, the bill increases the amount of funding available to purchase emergency food by $205 million through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). This will benefit Arkansas food banks and the hunger agencies they support like food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Second, nutrition education funding will be preserved, so programs that help people learn to stretch their food budgets will continue to be funded.
As with any compromise, no one gets everything they want. Our position is, and remains, that there should be no cuts that negatively impact the food insecure in our state, and the Alliance will continue advocating for responsible, humane food policy. With your continued support, we will fight in the interests of those families, seniors and children in Arkansas who may not know where they will get their next meal.
‘Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’