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Will The Farm Bill Mean More Cuts For Food Stamp Recipients In Texas?

President Obama is expected to sign the latest farm bill. The bill lays out a five-year blueprint for how farmers are subsidized for crop insurance, and how much money is spent on food assistance for the needy. How will the farm bill affect food stamps in Texas?

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The official name for food stamps is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In November, stimulus money that boosted SNAP benefits dried up. The average family in Texas saw its monthly benefit reduced by about $36.

“That may not sound like a lot. But (for) households struggling with food insecurity, that was actually a pretty significant cut in itself.”

That’s Brian Greene, president of the Houston Food Bank. The farm bill cuts SNAP benefits by closing a complicated loophole related to a home heating program. That reduction will be felt by people in more than a dozen states, but not here in Texas.

“And we were looking at the possibility of much deeper cuts that would have impacted Texas. We did avoid that. But we certainly feel very, very bad for people in other states.”

Greene says there is one good thing to come out of the farm bill as it applies to food aid.

“At least it’s a five-year bill. So that at least we can now be done with this particular topic, and, okay, now we just gotta deal with what it is. Hopefully, this will stay stable for five years.”

Greene says one of the biggest challenges going forward is making sure everyone who is eligible for SNAP gets signed up. He says that is the state’s responsibility, so Texas can receive as much in SNAP benefits as it pays into the system.

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David Pitman

David Pitman

Host & Announcer

David was HPM's local Morning Edition host from 2009 to 2020 — when he was moved to the position of Technical Director of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, and Town Square with Ernie Manouse. David has extensive public and commercial broadcast journalism and production experience dating back to 1993 –...

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