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What is the Farm Bill?

The Farm Bill is a package of legislation that needs to be renewed every five years and authorizes the federal food and agriculture programs that determine the health and resiliency of our food systems. The Farm Bill dictates how food is grown, what kinds of food we produce, and how accessible that food will be to low-income families.  

Title 4, or the Nutrition Title of the Farm Bill, includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, Basic Food, formerly “food stamps”). SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, which helps people buy food from retailers, grocers, and farmers markets, stimulating the local economy.  

Washington State is home to the broadest statewide investment made by USDA through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GUSNIP) to support SNAP match programs that incentivizes the purchase of fruits and vegetables by increasing the purchasing power of SNAP. 

Even amid agricultural abundance, hunger and food insecurity stubbornly persist right here in our state: 1 in 12 households in Washington struggle with hunger & food insecurity. Moreover, 1 in 6 WA kids live in a household that faces challenges in putting enough food on the table. While SNAP helps approximately 870,000 people in WA, we know that it can help even more. 

The 2023 Farm Bill is our opportunity to think foremost of the needs of people experiencing hunger—especially the most marginalized communities—to build a stronger, healthier food system for all. 

Northwest Harvest’s priorities for SNAP are co-created with people who experience hunger and use SNAP benefits. Our main areas of focus are: 

  1. Increasing the adequacy of SNAP benefits so people can afford nutritious food for themselves and their families.  
  2. Increasing the flexibility of SNAP benefits (what benefits can purchase and where items can be purchased) and protecting shopper’s ability to choose the foods they want to eat.  
  3. Addressing systemic barriers for vulnerable populations who are income-eligible for SNAP benefits but experience systemic barriers that prohibit access.  
Want to support our Farm Bill priorities? Get involved!

Northwest Harvest priorities are:

  • HR 1510: Improving Access to Nutrition (Rep. Barbara Lee): Ends the three-month time limit/work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs).  
  • HR 3037/S 1336: Closing the Meal Gap (Rep Alma Adams) & (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand): Uses Low-Cost Food Plan (30% increase over the current Thrifty Food Plan); standard medical deduction for seniors & disabled @ $140 min; ends shelter cap; ends time limits. 
  • S 1488: Enhanced Access to SNAP/EATS Act (Rep Jimmy Gomez) & (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand): Treats college attendance the same as work for eligibility determination – so functionally ends work requirements for college students. 
  • HR 3519: Hot Foods Act (Reps Grace Meng & Abigail Spanberger): Removes restrictions on hot, prepared foods for EBT-certified retailers. 
  • HR 3479: Re-Entry Support Through Opportunities for Resources and Essentials/RESTORE Act (Rep. Steven Cohen) & (Sens. Cory Booker/Raphael Warnock): Repeals ban on drug felony convictions 
  • S 2563: Tribal Access to Nutrition Assistance Act (Sen. Murray): Allows dual enrollment of FDPIR and SNAP for tribal members within the same month. 
  • HR 4170: LIFT the BAR (Rep. Jayapal): Ends 5 yr limit for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, CHIP, SSI; defines “qualified noncitizen”; restores state & local flexibilities for immigrant benefits. 
  • HR 5362: SNAP Employment & Training Enhancements Act (Rep. DelBene): Makes small but important changes to make SNAP E&T (BFET in our state) easier to administer for state agencies and local partner orgs, and for participants to access.