MADISON (WKOW)-- On Friday, President Obama is expected to sign a nearly $1 trillion Farm Bill into law. The White House says he'll do it at Michigan State University after a speech on the Farm Bill's importance to the U.S. economy.
The senate passed the Farm Bill on Tuesday after it was passed by the house early last week. The compromises in the bill include an $8.5 billion cut to federal food assistance programs for the poor.
The bill eases concerns of farmers by expanding crop insurance and adding new subsidies. Food banks on the other hand are feeling the negative effects of the bill.
"This will result in the potential reduction of up to $90 a month for people who are on SNAP," Second Harvest Food Bank President Dan Stein says.
To fill that void and feed their families some may go to food banks across the country. Workers at Second Harvest estimate they will go through nearly twice as much food to make up for food assistance cuts in the Farm Bill.
"These cuts are occurring on the heels of another reduction that took place last November where we saw the sunset of stimulus money that went to help people using SNAP benefits work through the terrible economy and they went away," Stein says.
That cut eliminated an average of $30 a month per household under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called FoodShare here in Wisconsin. Mayor Paul Soglin and other community leaders worry the new cut will have adverse affects on school children already battling hunger.
Second Harvest's food programs help 141,000 people each year. Around 43% of them are children.
"People need to be fed. They need nutritious food and the congress did not meet it's responsibilities with these massive cuts in SNAP," Soglin says.
Last year, Second Harvest provided more than 12.6 million meals to Southern Wisconsin families.
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