Debt deal toughens SNAP rules for some, eases them for others – White House
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed in debt limit negotiations with President Biden to exempt able-bodied veterans and homeless Americans from a 90-day limit on SNAP benefits, said two White House officials. But the agreement also applies the 90-day limit to so-called ABAWDS — able-bodied adults without dependents — up to age 55; the cutoff age is 50 now.
Debt limit bill is not the last look at SNAP rules
No matter the fate of debt limit legislation in the House, and its proposal to more widely apply a 90-day limit on SNAP benefits, Congress is not done with food stamps this year. Attempts to cut SNAP costs and eligibility will shift to the farm bill in coming weeks, said lawmakers on Tuesday.
McCarthy ties an increase in U.S. debt limit to work requirements for federal aid
In a skeleton list of demands for White House concessions over the federal debt limit, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Monday that Republicans "would restore work requirements that ensure able-bodied adults without dependents earn a paycheck and learn new skills." McCarthy did not specify which federal programs he meant but SNAP usually limits so-called ABAWDs to 90 days of benefits in a three-year period unless they work at least 20 hours a week.
Gender gap costs global economy $1 trillion in agrifood productivity and wages
Women are as widely employed as men in agrifood systems around the world, but their working conditions are often worse and they earn much less than men, said an FAO report on Thursday. “Closing the gender gap in farm productivity and the wage gap in agrifood system employment would increase global gross domestic product by 1 percent, or nearly $1 trillion,” it said.
Survey: Food insecurity rose in ’22 amid inflation, loss of pandemic supports
High food prices and a rollback of pandemic aids drove a significant increase in food insecurity last year, according to a survey by the Urban Institute that was published Tuesday. Some 24.6 percent of adults surveyed reported experiencing food insecurity in 2022, up from 20 percent in 2021. (No paywall)
USDA clears two states to replace stolen SNAP benefits
Maryland and Vermont became the first states approved by the USDA to replace recipients’ SNAP benefits stolen by card skimming, card cloning and similar crimes, said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Stacy Dean on Tuesday. Benefit replacement is available for two years ending on Sept. 30, …
Claim: War is poisoning Ukraine’s famously fertile soil
Ukrainian scientists say soil samples from the Kharkiv region show that “high concentrations of toxins such as mercury and arsenic from munitions and fuel are polluting the ground,” according to a Reuters report.
As emergency SNAP benefits end, anti-hunger groups scramble to meet the need
Millions of Americans are about to lose nearly $3 billion in SNAP benefits that were put into place to fight hunger during the pandemic. The extra benefits were not supposed expire until end of the Covid-19 public health emergency. But the government spending bill passed by Congress in December makes February the last month that the federal government will issue the emergency allotments. Anti-hunger groups say that these allotments have been a lifeline for families that are barely coping with high food and energy costs. They warn that people will go hungry, food pantries — already struggling with exceptionally high demand — will be overwhelmed and the economy will suffer. (No paywall)
World faces ‘mass climate deaths from starvation,’ says anti-hunger leader
By disrupting food production, climate change threatens “death from starvation on a scale that no living human today has ever witnessed,” said the head of an anti-hunger foundation during a panel discussion of malnutrition on Wednesday.
Why America’s food-security crisis is also a water-security crisis
An estimated 2.2 million people in America are water-insecure, and that's almost certainly a huge undercount, explains Lela Nargi in FERN's latest story. Yet the issue "is not even on most public health professionals’ radar, although recent water disasters in Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi, are starting to change that."
Food inflation declines for second month in a row
Lower beef prices helped pull down the food inflation rate to an annualized 10.9 percent in October, the second month in a row of a decline, said the Labor Department in the Consumer Price Index report.
At White House conference, Biden lays out plan to end hunger by 2030
America can end hunger by 2030 by fighting poverty, expanding access to healthy food, and reorienting healthcare toward preventing diet-related diseases, said President Biden on Wednesday. Framing the task in epic terms, he called on government and society to step up. “This could be a giant step,” he said. “This could remind us who the hell we are.” (No paywall)
U.S. announces $2.9 billion in global humanitarian aid
With world hunger rates rising, President Biden announced Wednesday at the United Nations an additional $2.9 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance, including funds to feed schoolchildren and expand food production. We’re “taking on the food crisis head-on,” said Biden in a speech that denounced Russia for invading Ukraine and called for action on global warming.
Food insecurity rises 10 percent in low- and middle-income countries
Nearly one-third of the people in 77 low- and middle-income countries are food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy and active lifestyle, said an annual USDA report. The 9.8-percent increase to 1.3 billion people this year included 41.7 million affected by higher food, fuel and fertilizer costs attributed to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Food insecurity held steady overall in 2021, but decreased among families with children
About one in 10 American households was food insecure at some point in 2021, according to USDA data released on Wednesday — a slight, but not significant, decline from 2020 and 2019, when the rate was 10.5 percent. Food security among families with children improved in 2021, with 12.5 percent of households with kids food insecure, down from 14.8 percent in 2020.
Pandemic aid helped families’ nutrition and well-being — report
The temporary increases in federal aid during the Covid-19 pandemic had a “highly positive impact on overall family well-being” and made it easier for low-income families to afford sufficient and healthy food, according to two reports released on Tuesday by Hunger Free America. But as these supports were gradually withdrawn, respondents reported skipping meals and struggling to feed their families.
U.S. should increase aid to farmers and food assistance programs — survey
More than 60 percent of consumers across the political spectrum support increasing government support for both farmers and food assistance as a response to inflation, according to a survey released last week by the University of Illinois. Liberals had the highest rates of support for both, with 90.2 percent supporting increased funding for food programs and 85.3 percent supporting increased funding for farmers, the Gardner Food and Agricultural Policy Survey found. Conservatives had lower levels of support for both, but 64.4 percent still supported increased funding for food programs and 66.4 percent, increased funding for farmers.