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.

Priority Legislation

  • 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.

    View Senate and House cosponsors.

  • Improving Access to Nutrition Act (H.R. 1510/S. 2435)
    The Improving Access to Nutrition Act championed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) 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. Read FRAC’s new research brief, Maintaining SNAP Benefits for Unemployed and Underemployed People Struggling in the Labor Market.

    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. View Senate and House cosponsors.

  • Enhance Access to SNAP Act (EATS Act) (H.R. 3183/S.1488)
    The Enhance Access to SNAP Act (EATS Act) championed by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) 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.  

    Use the FRAC Action Network to urge your Members to support this critical legislation. View Senate and House cosponsors.

    Read this sign-on letter to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership urging them to support the EATS Act.

  • Hot Foods Act (H.R. 3519/S. 2258)
    The Hot Foods 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. View Senate and House cosponsors.
  • Lift the Bar Act (H.R. 4170/S.2038)
    The 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.  Bill highlights. View Senate and House cosponsors.
  • Restore Act (H.R. 3479/S. 1753)
    The Restore Act championed by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Rutherford (R-FL), and Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) would repeal the lifetime federal ban on individuals with felony drug convictions from receiving SNAP. Bill highlights. View Senate and House cosponsors.
  • Additional Supporting Priorities
    Additional 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 and cosponsor FRAC’s Farm Bill priority legislation. 

    • Actively engage your Members of Congress in your advocacy. Use these FRAC resources.

    • Collect stories to document the harm and negative impacts that the hunger cliff and other efforts to weaken SNAP have done in your community.

    • Engage media – print and social – to alert Members of Congress to anti-hunger priorities.

SNAP Resources & Talking Points

Continuing the Thrifty Food Plan Adjustment Is Good for Everyone

The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to update the Thrifty Food Plan. The resulting update in 2021 was the first in the plan’s history and led to a necessary and long overdue increase in SNAP benefits. Learn why the Thrifty Food Plan adjustment should be protected from efforts to eliminate or weaken it in the 2024 Farm Bill and in other legislation in FRAC’s new one-pager, Continuing the Thrifty Food Plan Adjustment Is Good for Everyone.

Read the one-pager

Hunger Cliff 2023 State Fact Sheets

A hunger cliff is here. Millions of people who rely on support from SNAP have seen their benefits drop – in many cases, dramatically. As of March 1, 2023, all SNAP participants suffered cuts to their benefits each month when the temporary, pandemic-era SNAP boosts known as Emergency Allotments came to an end. Find out how the hunger cliff has affected people in your state using FRAC’s state Hunger Cliff fact sheets, newly updated for September 2023.

See your state's fact sheet

Farm Bill Leave Behind: Congress Must Protect and Strengthen SNAP, TEFAP, and Other Anti-Hunger Programs

SNAP is the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition and food security safety net, helping to put food on the table for 42 million participants with low incomes each month. When the number of families struggling to make ends meet increases, SNAP responds quickly and effectively to meet that need. Learn more about SNAP priority legislation, along with Farm Bill priorities for TEFAP and other anti-hunger programs.

Download the leave behind

2023 Farm Bill Priorities

Learn more about bills that would strengthen SNAP benefit adequacy and equitable access in FRAC’s 2023 Farm Bill Priorities fact sheet.

Download the fact sheet

Fact Sheet – FRAC Facts: SNAP Strengths

Did you know that SNAP stimulates the economy and supports working families? Find more talking points on the importance of SNAP in FRAC’s new FRAC Facts: SNAP Strengths fact sheet, updated for 2023.

Download the fact sheet

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. 

Farm Bill 101 Webinar

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 & Listening Sessions

Coming soon…

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