What Is The Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is a comprehensive package of legislation passed once every five years that has a direct impact on agriculture, food systems, and consumers. It covers programs ranging from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families.
The Farm Bill has different sections — known as titles — that can change over time. The 2018 Farm Bill had 12 titles. Out of those 12 titles, Title Four, is the most relevant for anti-hunger advocates. The Nutrition title covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as a variety of smaller nutrition programs to help individuals and families with low-incomes afford food.
Farm Bill 101 Webinar
- Closing the Meal Gap Act (H.R. 3037/S.1336)The Closing the Meal Gap Act championed by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for all participants and make further improvements.
SNAP benefit adequacy will be improved by:
- replacing the Thrifty Food Plan with the more appropriate Low-Cost Food Plan as the basis for SNAP allotments;
- eliminating the cap on the SNAP Excess Shelter Deduction; and
- streamlining SNAP Standard Excess Medical Deductions for persons who are older or have disabilities (with a minimum standard of $140).
These changes will ease choices too many people face between paying for food and rent or between paying for food and medicine.
- Improving Access to Nutrition Act (H.R. 1510)The Improving Access to Nutrition Act championed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) would eliminate three-month time limits on SNAP eligibility for certain working-age adults who cannot document sufficient hours of work. The current law provision takes food off the table of unemployed and underemployed people. The proposal is a long overdue and permanent law change that will promote food security and equity for Americans with low incomes.
Read FRAC’s Don’t Time Limit Food for People in Need: SNAP Talking Points, and use these talking points in your own advocacy.
Use FRAC’s customizable email template (.docx) to urge your Members of Congress to support this vital legislation.
Use the FRAC Action Network to urge your Members to support this critical legislation.
- Enhanced Access to SNAP Act (EATS Act) (S.1488)The Enhanced Access to SNAP Act (EATS Act) championed by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and Sen. Gillibrand would put college students with lower incomes on an equal footing with other people in qualifying for SNAP. SNAP would no longer condition eligibility for most people attending college at least half time on performing work study, or 20 hours or more per week of outside employment.
- SNAP Plus ActThe SNAP Plus Act championed by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) would permanently end the prohibition on use of SNAP benefits to purchase hot prepared foods from food retailers. The proposed change would afford SNAP customers broader choices available to other food shoppers.
- Lift the Bar ActThe Lift the Bar Act championed by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) seeks to restore access to public programs for lawfully present immigrants by removing the five-year waiting period and other restrictions to SNAP eligibility. The proposal also would remove that waiting period in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.
- Additional Supporting PrioritiesAdditional proposals would provide more equitable access to SNAP, including for residents of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Your Take Action To-Do List
Use the FRAC Action Network to quickly and easily contact your Member of Congress and urge them to support FRAC’s Farm Bill priorities.
Visit House and Senate instructions on contacting your Member. Use FRAC’s customizable email template to send your Member a message. Share FRAC’s one-pager on Farm Bill priorities.
Collect stories to document the harm the hunger cliff has done in your community.
Engage media to alert Members of Congress to anti-hunger priorities.
The Farm Bill Process
Every five years, the Farm Bill expires and is updated: it goes through an extensive process where it is proposed, debated, and passed by Congress and is then signed into law by the President. Each Farm Bill has a unique name, and the current Farm Bill is called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. It was enacted into law in December 2018 and expires in 2023.
The Key Players
Members of Congress who sit on the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hold the primary responsibility of drafting Farm Bills.
Upcoming Congressional Hearings
“Innovation, Employment, Integrity, and Health: Opportunities for Modernization in Title IV”
Full Committee on Agriculture
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 10 a.m. ET