Updated Farm Bill Protects SNAP Benefits, Passes House with Katko Support
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, with the support of U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24), the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conference Report to H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act.
While Rep. Katko broke with his party and voted against earlier versions of the Farm Bill, he supported the measure before the House today because updated provisions in the bill protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly 18% of all households in NY-24 are dependent on SNAP benefits.
“I was proud to support the updated Farm Bill before the House today, which protects SNAP and supports our region’s vast agriculture economy. This updated measure will ensure the thousands of families in our community working to raise themselves out of poverty have the support that they need,” said Rep. Katko. “In addition, this bill contains several wins for our region’s dairy and apple farmers. Importantly, it incentivizes our local farmers to protect our region’s water sources as we work to combat Harmful Algal Blooms and other invasive species threatening our water supply.”
Kathleen Stress, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Central New York said, "The Farm Bill, which passed both the Senate and House this week, protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the critical program that ensures thousands of people in Central and Northern New York, who struggle against hunger, can afford to put food in their refrigerators and on their tables. The Food Bank of Central New York applauds the hard and committed work of key members from New York, on both sides of the aisle, who prioritized the needs of those at risk of hunger in our community including Congressman Katko, who worked closely with us to champion the program."
In addition to his work to protect SNAP benefits, Rep. Katko advocated for several other priority areas for local farmers. As a result of Rep. Katko’s advocacy, the final Farm Bill:
· Provides Economic Development and Infrastructure Investment Opportunities for Wayne County by adding Wayne County to a list of counties in New York State eligible for Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) funding opportunities.
· Supports Upstate New York Dairy Farmers by Overhauling the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, renamed the Dairy Margin Coverage program, to provide more effective and flexible coverage to dairy farmers.
· Works to Address Growing Water Quality Issues, such as Harmful Algal Blooms, by incentivizing farmers to employ methods to protect wetlands and water sources.
· Provides Support for Upstate New York Apple Growers by continuing $2.4 billion in permanent investments in research, pest management and promotions of fruits and vegetables.
· Preservers and Protects Crop Insurance for Farmers and improves crop insurance access forveterans, beginning farmers, and fruit and vegetable growers. It more than doubles the disaster assistance coverage options for crops that are not eligible for insurance.
· Increases Access to Foreign Markets for Farmers by expanding export opportunities and securing an additional nearly $500 million in permanent funding over the next decade to help farmers find new global markets for their goods.