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SNAP Cuts Could "Shake Alliance" for Next Year's Farm Bill

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North Dakota farmers and ranchers are worried cuts to food stamps could endanger the nutrition title in next year's farm bill. (Samir Luther/Flickr)
North Dakota farmers and ranchers are worried cuts to food stamps could endanger the nutrition title in next year's farm bill. (Samir Luther/Flickr)
July 25, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. – Farmers and ranchers in North Dakota are speaking out against the Trump administration's proposed cuts to food assistance.

A quarter of the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) budget would be slashed over the next decade if members of Congress follow the president's lead.

Ryan Taylor, a North Dakota cattle rancher near Towner and the former state director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says the cuts could hurt the nutrition title in next year's farm bill, which also serves to bring together rural and urban support for the legislation.

"I think going in with cuts, potentially as large as $193 billion, would really shake the alliance that holds up the farm bill and serves both farmers and consumers," he says.

In North Dakota, about 54,000 people depend on SNAP, three-quarters of whom are families with children, seniors, or people living with disabilities.

The Trump administration says it wants states to share more responsibility for food assistance funding. The current farm bill expires in September 2018.

Taylor says SNAP is like an insurance program, helping those in need especially when times are tough. And he says farmers and ranchers do what they do because they want to help people.

"It's really a moral calling to those of us who are farmers and ranchers," he adds. "We love to produce food. We love to see it grow, but we also love to see people make good use of it in a way that makes their lives better and SNAP is really targeting a portion of the population where we can really make their lives better with the things that we grow."

The U.S. House is working a budget for next year. Early proposals have targeted SNAP for deep cuts.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND