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Farm Bill

Farm Bill

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Published by josephlord
Letter
Letter

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Published by: josephlord on Jun 19, 2013
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06/19/2013

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 The HonoraChairwomaSenate Co328A RussWashingto The HonoraRanking MSenate Co328A RussWashingto Dear Chair Peterson:Asof programreauthorizatCommittee presents aneconomic gthe long-ter  FunAssistance programs wapproximatmillions alsmillions of  ble Debbie
 
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rts, and Ran press our sllenges youings on theeauthorizatesidents, wach of theseAP), Themponents oonally high.rrently enroels for theseucasgricultureOffice Bui etersongricultureOffice Bui king Memb pport for aface in craf  bill in the Son of the File also fuelaims as crimergencycity nutritiAs you knoled in SNAprograms s dingdingnumber ing thisnaterm Billingical toood 
 
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The areas of our cities that have the highest rates of SNAP enrollment also tend to have theleast access to healthy foods and the highest rates of obesity and diet-related diseases, which ultimatelylead to significant health-related costs at the federal and local levels. Allowing states greater flexibilityto test and evaluate policies that can limit unhealthy choices would promote good nutrition for recipients. Congress should direct the USDA to test policies that support healthful food choices and reduce consumption of products, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, that threaten the health of manyAmericans.It is also of key importance that a 2012 Farm Bill promotes adequate fruit and vegetable supplyand consumption, in alignment with the USDA’s dietary recommendations. For example, we support preserving and expanding existing USDA programs such as the Senior Farmers Market NutritionProgram and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program in Schools that increase healthy food choices for vulnerable populations. In addition, many cities have successfully piloted programs thatencourage the consumption of healthful foods by providing financial incentives to SNAP recipientsusing their benefits at farmers markets. Expanding these programs on a federal level would promotegood nutrition and establish additional funding streams for small, regional farmers. Similarly, inclusionof proposals in pending legislation which advocate for the increased use of Electronic BenefitsTransfer (EBT) transactions at farmers markets and other non-traditional produce vendors will further support these goals.Farmers need access to markets to thrive, and many urban neighborhoods lack healthy food retail options. Investment in this area will promote economic development. Communities have already been able to access grants to connect low-income neighborhoods with healthy food products through programs like the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, Farmers Market Promotion Program, and theHealthy Food Enterprise Development Fund. Creating a stronger food network by expanding the reachof these and similar programs would showcase the commitment to changing the food landscape inunderserved neighborhoods.Finally, although we represent urban environments, we recognize the importance of theconservation programs that are fundamental to a healthy food system. These programs are critical tothe watersheds that serve our residents, and more fundamentally promote the long-term health and food security of all Americans. We encourage you to maintain a strong commitment to conservation,and particularly those programs that support the environmental stewardship of farmers.

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