In Washington, D.C., American Heart Association staff and volunteers are paying close attention to reauthorization of the Farm Bill, a major priority for us this year. Watch for opportunities to engage in the coming months. In the meantime, read on to learn more about the bill.
What is the Farm Bill?
The farm bill is a comprehensive multi-year federal bill that addresses nutrition and agricultural policy issues for our country. It is typically renewed every five years. The Agriculture Improvement Act, the current authorization, expires September 30, 2023.
The 2018 farm bill included 12 titles authorizing a wide range of agriculture, feeding, and nutrition assistance programs. The nutrition title is about four-fifths of the full cost of the legislation and includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentives Program (GusNIP, or incentives), and other critical nutrition and feeding programs. The last farm bill in 2018 cost $428 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office recently released their projections that this next reauthorization will cost $1.5 trillion. This reauthorization is at an unprecedented impasse given the projected spending, the food system crises, inflation, and the ending of COVID-era boosts in benefits. We will need to raise our collective voices to ensure that the nutrition and feeding programs remain strong and improve diet quality.
The American Heart Association is advocating for more than a dozen policies in the reauthorization to improve nutrition and health. Accomplishing some of our most important and critical priorities in the bill will require you speaking up. Broadly, we will focus on issues of benefit adequacy; leveraging SNAP, GusNIP and other farm bill programs to improve diet quality; and the need to continue to modernize the technology for and coordination with these programs.
STAY TUNED for opportunities to act… coming soon!