Variations In House, Senate Farm Bills Could Affect Food Stamp Recipients In Our Region

Jun 29, 2018

Between 7 and 12 percent of residents in Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Montana and Wyoming receive food assistance. The Farm Bill authorizes the funding for the program every five years.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The Senate and House have passed two versions of the Farm Bill. The differences between the two pieces of legislation now have to be hashed out by legislators. The final bill could have a big impact on low-income residents in our region.

Across the Mountain West, between 7 and 12 percent of people get federal assistance to buy food - otherwise known as food stamps.

The house version of the farm bill wants to increase work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Christina Stucker-Gassi is on the board of the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils and is an advocate for low-income residents in Boise. She says if the house version goes through, it would ultimately mean more hungry people in the Mountain West.

"If you’re working full-time and minimum wage, you could potentially lose your benefits, that’s not enough to live on as we know," says Stucker-Gassi. "It could look like families with children having to jump through more hoops before they can feed their families."

Senator Mike Lee in Utah believes linking work to government assistance can help move people out of poverty. He attempted to introduce work requirements into the Senate version of the bill but was unsuccessful.

The Farm Bill is reauthorized only once every five years. It is currently set to expire this September.

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.