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Farm Bill set to expire, advocates pushing for more funding

farm bil
Posted at 7:13 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 19:13:58-04

INDIANAPOLIS— On Thursday afternoon, the parking lot at Gleaner's is filled with people waiting to pick up food.

The lines aren't going away anytime soon either.


"The lines we see at our food banks and pantries are longer than they have ever been in many cases," said Emily Bryant, the executive director with Feeding Indiana's Hungry.

Bryant and other representatives from Feeding America, food banks in Indiana and the Indiana Farmer's Bureau were in Washington D.C. this week to advocate for a new farm bill.

"A large majority of that is going to be the nutrition title and SNAP — that makes 80 to 85% of the Farm Bill. The other portion of it is the AG programs," said Brantley Seifers, with the Indiana Farm Bureau.

The Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of Sept., but Bryant says it won't have a big impact on the nutrition program just yet. Advocates are focusing on getting more funding into the bill.

The Farm Bill set the funding for Emergency Food Assistance Program, which makes up 20 to 30% of the food distributed at food banks.

Feeding America is asking Congress to double the baseline for purchases and adjust for inflation, upping the budget to $500 million.

"We haven’t adjusted that number in more than a decade, and frankly that’s not going to get us to meet the need, but it’s going to get us closer," said Bryant.

When it comes to SNAP, Bryant says they want it to continue to be authorized, aligned with rising prices and simplify the eligibility and enrollment.

"The program serves so many Hoosiers and provides such an economic impact. For the month of July, there were more than $117 million spent in benefits in Indiana," said Bryant.

Seifers says on the agriculture side, crop insurance is one of the big items.

Right now, the Farm Bill is stalled because Congress is working on funding the Government. Advocates want to at least see an extension by the end of the month.