CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, May 20, 2024


May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024 

The tale of two farm bills edition. One of the most important jobs Congress must accomplish during its remaining time before final adjournment is passage of the 2024 Farm Bill. This legislation – which is scheduled to be renewed every five years – is of utmost importance to human needs advocates because it sets policies and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s most important and effective tool for fighting hunger. 

Earlier this month, both the Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Republican Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee released competing visions of what a 2024 Farm Bill should look like.  The two legislators’ visions stand in great contrast, particularly when it comes to SNAP. 

On a positive note, the outline released by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) makes significant improvements to SNAP. It would establish a path for Puerto Rico to eventually participate fully in the program, which would be a significant step toward addressing food insecurity and poverty in the U.S. territory. And it would restore SNAP eligibility for people convicted of a drug-related felony, ending an obsolete policy that, because of racial inequities in drug prosecutions, discriminates based on race. It would also reduce barriers to SNAP participation for older adults, military families, and some college students. Meanwhile it allots millions of dollars to America’s essential food and farmworkers and safeguards the workforce that helps SNAP participants enroll in or renew their benefits to protect program integrity.  

In marked contrast, there are serious threats to SNAP benefits in the bill proposed by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA). It includes a proposal that policy experts say could result in a $30 billion cut to future SNAP benefits. Thompson reportedly would curtail the ability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) – which USDA uses to determine the level of monthly SNAP benefits – outside of inflation. If this happens, every one of the more than 40 million Americans who receive SNAP would be affected. “Over the longer term, the cuts would grow larger and SNAP benefits would become less adequate,” says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

While there are improvements to nutrition assistance that advocates support, the bill includes attacks on the SNAP workforce and stakeholders have come together to oppose a Farm Bill that would make harmful cuts and policy changes to any of the federal nutrition programs. 

The House Agriculture Committee will mark up their bill Thursday (May 23) and we can’t let this harmful bill move forward. Tell your House member cuts to nutrition assistance are unacceptable. Click here. 


44.2 million 

The number of Americans who in 2022 lived in households experiencing food insecurity, with rates particularly high among Black, Latino, American Indian, and Alaskan Native people. Tweet this.


9 out of 10;
8 out of 10 

9 out of 10 counties with high food insecurity are rural, although only 62% of U.S. counties are rural; 8 out of 10 high food insecurity counties are in the South, according to new findings by Feeding America. Tweet this.


$18 billion/
$9 billion 

Of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Thompson’s reported proposed $30 billion cut to SNAP over 10 years, $18 billion of the cut would affect households with children, which in a typical month would include nearly 17 million children. $9 billion would affect households with young children – under age 5 – which in a typical month would include about 5 million young children. Tweet this.


$5 billion/
$6 billion 

$5 billion of Thompson’s proposed SNAP cut would affect households with older adults, including more than 6 million people aged 60 or older. $6 billion would affect households with people with disabilities, including more than 4 million disabled individuals. Tweet this.



Food hardship continued to rise in 2023, with more than one in four adults – 27% — reporting food insecurity, up from 24.9% in 2022. The 2023 rate exceeded the pre-pandemic level of 22.5% in 2019. Tweet this.



One in three Black adults – 35.1% — and nearly two in five Latino adults – 38.7% — reported food insecurity in 2023, increases from 2022.


During the 2018-19 school year, one third of children at Department of Defense schools on military bases were eligible for free- or reduced-price lunches. That’s 6,500 hundred children in all who were eligible. At Georgia’s Fort Stewart, 65% were eligible.

$500 million

The proposed cuts to the Thrifty Food Plan proposed in House Agriculture Committee Chair Thompson’s legislation would lead to more than $500 million in cuts to Summer EBT, which will provide grocery benefits to children in low-income families during the summer when schools are closed

$1 billion/
$700 million1/3

While the block grant funding for Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program would get a $1 billion increase, most of that would be offset by $700 million cut over the years 2027-2033 because of the future cuts to the Thrifty Food Plan proposed in House Agriculture Committee Chair Thompson’s legislation.Many military families experience food insecurity. During the 2018-19 school year, one third of children at Department of Defense schools on military bases were eligible for free- or reduced-price lunches – 6,500 children in all. At Georgia’s Fort Stewart, 65% were eligible.


$100 million

The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which provides food for food banks and food pantries to distribute to individuals and families, would be cut by more than $100 million over the 2027-2033 period. 


Farm Bill
Human Needs Watch