June 25, 2018 / Author: Madison Wall

2018 Farm Bill and SNAP 

Dear Member of the Tennessee Delegation:

We are writing to encourage you to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the 2018 Farm Bill. SNAP was designed to prevent malnutrition in America and ensure demand for American agricultural products. For over five decades, the program has achieved these goals effectively and efficiently. SNAP works for Tennessee by helping more than one in six Tennesseans – children, older adults, adults with disabilities, and the working poor – put food on the table, contributing one out of every eight dollars spent on groceries in Tennessee, generating an estimated $150 million in demand for Tennessee agricultural products.

With nearly one million Tennesseans struggling to put food on the table as it is, SNAP also keeps the work of charities across the state from being impossible. For every meal distributed through the Feeding America network, SNAP provides twelve meals. Unfortunately, the proposals for SNAP in the bill just passed by the House of Representatives (H.R.2) do not include policies needed to keep SNAP focused on preventing malnutrition while supporting our nation’s farmers. We encourage you to look beyond H.R.2 and keep SNAP working for Tennessee and your constituents.

H.R.2 represents some of the most dramatic changes to the program since its creation. It proposes to impose shorter time limits for SNAP help on even more participants, including older unemployed workers who often struggle to find new employment. While it does increase investments for employment and training, it is woefully inadequate to provide meaningful services that will move participants to permanent self-sufficiency.

Combined with the new shorter time limits for SNAP help, the denial of aid to unemployed workers is an untested expansion of government bureaucracy. At the same time, it will limit state flexibility in program administration, increase administrative burdens, and reduce eligibility among many struggling to put food on the table, particularly the working poor.

As organizations that serve the nearly one million Tennesseans who rely on SNAP to enjoy adequate nutrition, we know how important this program is for our state and its citizens. We encourage you to protect SNAP in the Farm Bill by working with your colleagues in both houses to move beyond the problematic policies of H.R.2.

Please ensure that any final bill adopted by Congress keeps SNAP focused on preventing malnutrition by rejecting cumbersome new time limit policies, making adequate investments in evidence-based job training programs, and maintaining state flexibility in program administration. Thank you for considering our position and for your service to our state.

Respectfully yours,

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee

Kingsport, TN 37620

Memphis Food Advisory Council

Memphis, TN 38104

Tennessee Catholic Public Policy Commission

Nashville, TN 37205

National Women in Agriculture, Tennessee Chapter

Knoxville, TN 37924

A VOICE for the Reduction of Poverty

Nashville, TN 37211

Grace St. Luke Food Pantry

Memphis, TN 38104

Jefferson County Senior Citizens

Dandridge, TN 37725

Peace Lutheran Church

Knoxville, TN 37923

United Ways of Tennessee

Franklin, TN 37067

Catholic Charities of Tennessee

Nashville, TN 37214

Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council

Knoxville, TN 37917

East Tennessee Permaculture Research Institute

Knoxville, TN 37920

Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless

Knoxville, TN 37921

University Cluster Food Pantry

Memphis, TN 38111

Friends For Life, Inc.

Memphis, TN 38120

Hey Moon Farm

Knoxville, TN 37917

Tennessee Afterschool Network

Franklin, TN 37067

Mid-South Food Bank

Memphis, TN 38112

National Association of Social Workers, Tennessee Chapter

Nashville, TN 37228

The Nashville Food Project

Nashville, TN 37215

Memphis Tilth

Memphis, TN 38126

Knowledge Quest

Memphis, TN 38126

Tennessee Justice Center

Nashville, TN 37219

Calvary Baptist Church

Union City, TN 38261