12/12/2018 - Congress passed the bipartisan Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 – the farm bill – on December 12. The bill, which is expected to be signed by President Trump, invests in a strong food safety net and strengthens nutrition education programs that collectively promote healthy people, a robust food system and a strong economy.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics believes the inherent link between agriculture and nutrition is reinforced by this legislation, which fosters access to nutrient-dense foods that promote optimal health and provides consumer education that increases nutrition literacy and life management skills.
The farm bill ensures the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while making targeted improvements to SNAP for seniors and people with disabilities and modernizing systems and technology. SNAP is highly effective in preventing food insecurity and alleviating poverty, and is linked with improved health and lower health care costs. SNAP helps one in eight Americans put food on the table and keeps more than 8 million people out of poverty.
Access to food is a key component of reducing food insecurity. Nutrition education through the SNAP-Ed program affords participants the opportunity to budget for and prepare healthy foods and maximize their purchasing ability.
The farm bill will improve coordination of SNAP-Ed with other nutrition education programs and take steps to increase accountability and reporting of outcomes, as well as sharing of information between states through an information clearinghouse.