Adams: $1.5T farm bill proposal exacerbates food insecurity



Exacerbation of food insecurity in North Carolina would follow if a farm bill proposal doesn’t get changed in the area of food aid, a congresswoman representing the state’s largest city says.

Sent to the Committee on Agriculture in the U.S. House of Representatives, the $1.5 trillion omnibus known as Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 has drawn support and critics each from both Democrats and Republicans. Both chambers have razor-thin majorities – 217-213 Republicans in the House, with five vacancies; the upper chamber with 48 Democrats and three independents caucusing with them to 49 Republicans.

“The Farm Bill should feed people, not take food off their table,” said Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C. “According to the USDA, over 10% of households in the 12th Congressional District participate in SNAP. That’s over 32,000 families. Under the Republican bill introduced today, hungry families in North Carolina would have their benefits cut by over $1 billion. How can we take food out of the mouths of children?”

SNAP is the acronym for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It provides low-income Americans an average of $2 per person, per meal. The majority are children and seniors.

Adams, a member of the committee, said the proposal from Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., would change the formula for SNAP benefit amounts resulting in a $30 billion cut nationwide.

According to published reports, a big hurdle is billions in taxpayer subsidies going to cotton, rice and peanut farmers. The money would be generated from either climate funding or food aid. The legislation prioritizes big agribusiness, another contentious point drawing criticism from left- and right-aligned entities.

The ninth-largest state at 10.8 million people includes about 15% getting SNAP benefits.

Agriculture and agribusiness provide an economic impact of $111.1 billion annually, state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said last Friday. Nationally, North Carolina is No. 4 in peanuts and No. 5 in cotton.

“I have been clear – including at the one, single hearing our committee had about nutrition – that any cuts to SNAP would be a nonstarter for those of us interested in passing a truly bipartisan bill,” Adams said. “You can’t be healthy if you’re hungry, and this kind of partisan game and its delays hurt our farmers and the families they feed.”

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