Impacting North Carolina: Harsh Restrictions and the Farm Bill
Food Banks around the country were anxious to review the House Agriculture Committee version of the 2018 Farm Bill released in April. We were disheartened by its contents. We call on the Congress to reject it.
The bill would, indisputably, increase hunger and further burden struggling North Carolina families by cutting–and in many cases taking away–basic food assistance.
We believe that everyone deserves to be able to eat, and we also know that the impact of this bill goes far beyond the health and well-being of individuals. While the Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years, the impacts of this Farm Bill, if passed, will be felt through families, communities, businesses, farms and the economy across generations.
This is how it would impact North Carolina:
1. North Carolina is the 10th hungriest state in the country. SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) helps more than 1.5 million North Carolinians, targeting seniors, veterans, those living with disability and children to make sure they get the nutrients they need. Reductions in funding and restrictions on eligibility for SNAP would hurt the most vulnerable amongst us.
2. More than 9,700 grocers and retailers relied on SNAP to pump $2.2 billion dollars into our economy last year, creating revenue and creating jobs for North Carolinians. Cuts to the program would reduce this economic gain for the state and could put retailers in low-income areas and food deserts at risk.
3. This bill would take away North Carolina’s flexibility to provide services and create barriers to the efficient administration of the program. The bill would restrict North Carolina’s decision to use a process called categorical eligibility (known as CAT EL), which would strip food assistance from 133,000 North Carolinians, including 51,000 children.
4. North Carolinians struggling to find work would lose food assistance. In 87 of North Carolina’s 100 countries, there are more jobless workers than there are job opportunities. The work requirements in Farm Bill, H.R. 2 ignore this reality and only allots $30 per person, per month to help with job training and employment assistance– an allotment that does not reflect what is needed to get back to work in good times, not to mention a difficult economy.
5. With entire families potentially being removed from SNAP due to funding cuts and harsh restrictions, these families will still need to eat. These families will frequently be employed–working but poor–and unable to make ends meet. They will turn to food banks–including Second Harvest and our partner network–for assistance. We will help as we can, but the fact remains that for every meal a food bank can provide, the SNAP program can provide 12. We will work hard–but we will not be able to make up for the need.
NATIONAL CALL IN DAY IS MAY 8th, 2018!
Let’s make sure that Congress understands their role in preventing chronic hunger in the U.S. BEFORE families are without food in their districts.
Please, call your Representative on MAY 8th and tell them to vote NO on cuts to SNAP . It will only take you two minutes – a small sacrifice to help prevent millions from going hungry.
Here’s what to do:
1. Dial 888-398-8702
2. Follow the prompts to be connected to your Representative
3. Tell them you’re a constituent and urge them to vote NO on the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) and oppose cuts to SNAP food assistance.
(The data used in this post was sourced from the NC Budget and Tax Center here)