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Food Stamps Focus of Farm Bill

May 29, 2007



St. Paul, MN - Minnesota anti-hunger advocates say they want to make sure the new farm bill includes a strong "Food Stamp" provision, to make sure people without access to nutrition get the food they need. Comments from Steve Francisco, federal policy director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

As Congress draws up a new farm bill, one area getting attention in Minnesota is the food stamp program. Steve Francisco with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits says it's a small investment with a major impact.

Over 264,000 Minnesotans receive Food Stamps every month. And, a large number of these are working families with children. The average food stamp benefit is only about a dollar per person per meal.

He says the consumer value of stamps, in real dollars, has been declining over the past decade, because they have not been indexed to inflation. He says that needs to be addressed in the next farm bill.

Francisco says millions of American families rely on Food Stamps.

It's a very important program for families that find their budgets stretched to the limit, with higher costs for housing and for gasoline and health care and other things that they need to spend money on to make ends meet.

Francisco says there is also an economic impact. The Ag Department reports every dollar in Food Stamps generates twice that in total economic activity -- which translates to over a half million dollar impact on Minnesota's economy. He says over three-fourths of the Food Stamps spent in Minnesota are used by families with children. Most of the rest goes for seniors or people with disabilities.

EXTENDED AUDIO CLIP:

Francisco is at 651-642-1904. More at www.mncn.org/bp Lawmakers say they hope to have the 2007 Farm Bill completed by late summer.



Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN