The stopgap USDA program that helps low-income parents buy food for their children who miss school meals because of closures will be renewed for a full year, rather than expiring on Sept. 30, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. Extension of the so-called Pandemic EBT program was part of nearly $8 billion in nutrition assistance added to a government funding bill during negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Pelosi said in a statement.
In a largely positive review of government programs to address mounting hunger during Covid-19, a panel of experts and advocates speaking at the National Food Security Conference on Wednesday encouraged Congress to boost spending on the anti-hunger programs it has developed since the pandemic began. (No paywall)
Grocery prices will rise a modest 1.5 percent in 2021, close to the long-term average and half of the larger-than-usual increase expected this year, said the USDA in its first forecast of food inflation in the new year.
Some 43 million people — or more than one in eight Americans — received food stamps in May, an increase of 6.2 million in three months since the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and economic recession threw millions of people out of work. SNAP enrollment is the highest since October 2017. (No paywall)
The Farmers to Families Food Box program, the $3 billion face of the Trump administration's response to US food insecurity during the pandemic, delivered 25 million boxes of food to nonprofit organization such as food banks as of Monday, said the USDA. (No paywall)
Rattan Lal, one of the world's leading soil scientists, is this year's winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize, "the Nobel of agriculture," for his breakthrough research on the importance of carbon to soil health and the potential of carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Lal's research "transformed the way the world saw soils," said the foundation that awards the annual prize.
In its first assessment since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, the government forecast lower prices for U.S. crops and livestock as a worldwide economic slowdown, the result of aggressive efforts to squash the virus, weakens the global appetite for food. The notable exceptions are wheat and rice, where panic buying has driven up prices for the food grains, said the USDA on Thursday. (No paywall)
Food stamp enrollment is forecast for 37.1 million people this fiscal year, the lowest figure since the early days of the Great Recession. The antihunger program could cost $69.2 billion this fiscal year, according to Senate appropriators, down 6 percent from fiscal 2019, which ended on Sept. 30, and far below the nearly $80 billion cost when SNAP participation peaked early this decade.
Some 11.1 percent of U.S. households are food insecure, meaning they did not have enough food at times during 2018 due to a lack of money or other resources, said the USDA on Wednesday. It was the lowest food insecurity rate since 2007, just before the Great Recession drove food stamp enrollment and costs to record highs.
Some 38.6 million Americans were enrolled in SNAP at latest count, down by one-fifth from the peak of 47.6 million during fiscal 2013 and the slow recovery from the Great Recession. Enrollment will drop further, to 32 million people, during the coming decade, estimated the CBO in its budget …