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Moore lauds Farm Bill that includes increased subsidies, potential SNAP cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alabama’s sole representative in the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, praised the advancement of the 2024 Farm Bill Thursday night that included significant increases to farmer subsidies, as well as potentially significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“I am pleased to see the fruition of the 2024 Farm Bill, and especially pleased to see a strong farm bill that supports vital farm programs and safety net programs that are necessary to Alabama agriculture,” Moore said during the hearing.

U.S. Rep. Barry Moore speaks during a May 23 meeting of the House Agriculture Committee.

Reauthorized every five years, the latest iteration of the Farm Bill is priced at $1.5 trillion, and is an omnibus package that includes things like crop insurance, farm subsidies and food security programs like SNAP.

The bill passed out of the committee with several changes, including increases to reference prices, which determine when farmers enrolled in federal crop insurance programs receive subsidies, something farmers across the country have been advocating for for years.

Other inclusions that Moore praised during the hearing included the continuing the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Program, which helps address the threat of feral swine to agriculture, the establishment of a commission to improve the quality of agriculture data collection, and the modernization of the collection of data on America’s forests.

The specific inclusions Moore championed were also praised by the Alabama Farmers Federation, with Moore’s campaign receiving strong support from the agricultural industry over the years.

“Since the last farm bill we passed, farmers, foresters and producers have fought tooth and nail to stay afloat against this administration and its consistently standing against them,” Moore continued. “This legislation puts the farm back in farm bill.”

One change to the bill before it passed out of committee Moore did not mention, however, was a regulatory change that, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, could see a nearly $30 billion reduction in SNAP funding over the next ten years.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has the authority to reevaluate its food plans that are used to determine SNAP benefits, like it did in 2021, which caused a modest increase in benefits for SNAP recipients. 

Under the new version of the Farm Bill, that authority would be revoked and placed in the hands of Congress, which according to Alabama Arise Senior Policy Analyst Carol Gundlach, could see a massive decline in SNAP funding over time.

“One of the problems is it’s going to, over time, cut the amount of SNAP benefits that are available to people because it really won’t keep up with modernization, with inflation,” Gundlach told Alabama Daily News Friday. Nearly 800,000 Alabamians receive SNAP benefits.

“The other thing is it restricts the ability of a federal agency to do an in-depth nutritional analysis of what it takes to feed your family, and it puts that back in the hands of Congress, and I don’t think any of us want Congress trying to figure out what we ought to be feeding our family.”

Gundlach did say there were a number of changes in the bill that she and her organization saw as positives. 

One such change would revoke the authority of SNAP benefits to be revoked from those convicted of drug crimes, or the inclusion of new provisions to better help those coming out of prison to enroll in SNAP, two inclusions Gundlach said could help recidivism.

As amended, the Farm Bill is likely to face fierce opposition from Democrats and some Republicans due to its potential impact on SNAP funding. As it exists currently, however, Gundlach argued that SNAP was already bordering on insufficient, and that any additional cuts could be devastating to Alabama’s low-income residents.

“SNAP benefits are around $2 per person, per meal per day, and I challenge anybody to successfully feed their family with that,” she said.

“We all know what eggs cost, milks cost, we know inflation in the grocery store, and that’s as true for SNAP recipients as it is for everybody who pays cash for groceries, so we’re just making it harder and harder to buy food.”

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