ALBANY, NY — June 13, 2018 – The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee released its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, which presents an opportunity for the Senate to strengthen the national commitment to reducing hunger and supporting agriculture. On behalf of the Food Bank Association of New York State, Anita Paley, Executive Director, has released the following statement:

“The Food Bank Association of New York State applauds Committee leaders for working together to develop a bipartisan Farm Bill to avoid dramatic cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but unfortunately, the legislation – as currently drafted – falls short of making necessary investments in food assistance programs to help those in our communities facing hunger.

Our membership sees firsthand the struggles facing families, seniors, veterans, and children throughout New York State when they are food insecure, and we know that our collective effort to reduce hunger relies upon strong federal nutrition programs. For every meal provided by our membership, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides 12.

We applaud the fact that the legislation recognizes the importance and effectiveness of the SNAP program and does not include provisions to limit access to the program or reduce benefits.  Additionally, the bill proposes changes that will improve SNAP program operations, including providing states the ability to view practically real-time data about whether SNAP applicants are receiving benefits in other states to prevent dual enrollment. The Senate bill stands in stark contrast to the House measure (H.R. 2), which would devastate Americans facing hunger and leave our membership unable to fill the gap.

However, the Senate bill fails to make all of the investments necessary to truly reduce hunger and food insecurity in New York State. In particular, the level of investments in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) fall short of those provided in the 2014 Farm Bill and represent a missed opportunity to prioritize food assistance in the bill’s reinvestments. We urge the Senate to prioritize increasing TEFAP funding as the legislation moves forward.

As the process for reauthorizing the Farm Bill continues, we encourage leaders in both chambers to recognize the importance of passing legislation that supports America’s agricultural producers and strengthens key nutrition programs for seniors, veterans, children, and working families.”

About the Food Bank Association of New York State: The Food Bank Association of New York State is a non-profit membership organization for the Feeding America Food Banks in NYS. Through a network of 5,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and other institutions for vulnerable populations, our network distributed 176 million pounds of food throughout the entire State. The Association works for the membership and for the hungry in an effort with others to resolve hunger in NYS.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and www.feedingnys.org