The 2023 Farm Bill: Congress’ Chance to Influence Anti-Hunger Policy

Project Bread

Policy Work

Every five years, federal lawmakers pass a Farm Bill. This extensive legislation is broken down into 12 titles and is meant to allocate government funding for a myriad of food and agricultural programs and policies. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2018 and expires this September, so lawmakers are currently working on alterations and improvements for the next iteration of the legislation.

What does the Farm Bill have to do with anti-hunger policy?

The provisions within the Farm Bill’s Nutrition title oversee spending for numerous anti-hunger programs, including:

What about other federal nutrition programs, like school meals?

The child nutrition programs, like the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) (known as Summer Eats in Massachusetts), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), are reauthorized during a separate federal legislative process known as Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), which last took place in 2010 with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Project Bread’s work to impact the Farm Bill

As Massachusetts’ statewide anti-hunger organization, Project Bread prioritizes increasing access and awareness surrounding SNAP —- our country’s most effective anti-hunger program. 

As an official SNAP Outreach Partner of DTA, Project Bread makes it easier for people in Massachusetts to get SNAP and helps anyone having trouble applying. In 2022, we connected 8,000 households to SNAP and the benefits these households received to pay for groceries brought an estimated $8 million of federal money into Massachusetts. 

SNAP is currently helping more than 1 million low-income households in Massachusetts buy groceries and afford fresh produce. But lack of awareness, misinformation, language inaccessibility, stigma, and application difficulties are barriers to our nation’s most successful nutrition supports — SNAP (food stamps) and free meals for kids (school meals and Summer Eats).

Both the Farm Bill and any changes that it brings for SNAP are central to the work that Project Bread does and plans to do over the next five years. Our policy recommendations, which focus on SNAP given our direct expertise with the program, are designed to protect and strengthen the program that is integral to our work to permanently solve hunger in Massachusetts.

Why is this Farm Bill cycle so critical?

SNAP participants are facing a hunger cliff following the end of the federal COVID-19 emergency allotments, which expired for Massachusetts residents following the February 2023 issuance. On average, households in Massachusetts are losing $151.46 in monthly benefits from this change.[1] Because some states opted to end the emergency allotments prematurely, we have data that demonstrates the impact that this hunger cliff will have on families. 

SNAP households from states that discontinued providing emergency allotments reported higher rates of skipping meals, reduced consumption of food, increased support from others (such as family and friends), and increased use of food pantries, compared to states that did not discontinue the allotments.[2] It is essential that targeted action is taken to protect and strengthen SNAP benefit adequacy and choice within the 2023 Farm Bill Nutrition title.

Our Recommendations for policy makers

Utilizing our direct experience with SNAP, Project Bread has drafted a series of 2023 Farm Bill recommendations for policymakers that center on: 

  1. Protecting and strengthening SNAP benefit adequacy and choice 
  2. Increasing equitable access to SNAP 


We will be calling on our Action Team and community of supporters in the coming months to participate in advocacy opportunities around the Farm Bill to ensure that lawmakers protect and strengthen our nation’s foremost anti-hunger program. Join Project Bread’s Action Team today to get involved! 

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