WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s consideration of the 2013 farm bill, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced an amendment that would reverse cuts to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities that help food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters that feed Americans affected by hunger. Brown’s amendment would restore cuts to key nutrition programs, including commodity distribution to food banks, and support for employment and training programs. The amendment would reinstate the funding levels in the bipartisan, Senate-passed farm bill of 2012. 

“The farm bill is a disaster assistance bill for farmers, but also for families who are grappling with poverty, unemployment and declining wages,” Brown said. “While agriculture and food services is our state’s largest industry, more than two million Ohioans required assistance from food banks last year. This amendment restores commonsense funding levels – passed with strong bipartisan support – for efforts that help the neediest Americans.”

“On behalf of Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks and the more than 2.3 million Ohioans we served during the last quarter of 2012, I would like to thank Senator Brown for offering an amendment in the Farm Bill to increase The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities available to feed hungry Ohioans,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. We continue to see record demand and long lines at the doors of our 3,300 member pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, representative of the extraordinarily hard choices Ohioans are making between putting a roof over their head, meeting medical needs, putting gas in the car to get to work or putting a solid meal on the table for their families.”

“We look forward to working with Senator Brown and his colleagues in the Senate and House to support a robust investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), the first line of defense against hunger and a critical nutrition safety net for 1.9 million Ohioans relying on the program,” Hamler-Fugitt continued.

Brown’s amendment would reinstate funding for three programs to the levels included in the bipartisan, Senate-passed 2012 farm bill. The amendment would restore cuts to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides commodities for food banks across Ohio and the nation; SNAP Employment & Training Assistance, which helps SNAP recipients get the job skills and assistance needed to get back to work; and Community Food Projects, which provides small one-time grants to organizations tackling food security and nutrition a the community level. A fact sheet about nutrition programs in Ohio is HERE.