Passage of Farm Bill, Measures to Support Access to Healthy Foods for Millions

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics applauds Congress for passing the Agriculture Act of 2014, a bill commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. The Academy supports this piece of legislation that protects vital nutrition assistance and education programs which includes new initiatives that will improve the health of the nation and enhance funding for nutrition and agriculture research. “The American people deserve a Farm Bill because it has a major impact on the entire nation’s food system, and we are pleased to see one move through Congress,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Dr. Glenna McCollum. “Included in this especially important and massive piece of legislation are nutrition programs that provide access to healthy foods for millions,” she said. “The Academy has been actively involved in the reauthorization of the Farm Bill for the last two years by engaging our members to send thousands of letters to Congress, encouraging constituents to meet with their legislators and working with our partners to garner support for nutrition programs and offer new ideas for cost-effective solutions,” McCollum said.

Most recently, the Academy focused its efforts on protecting the SNAP nutrition education program. SNAP-Ed is vital to helping families utilize limited resources to purchase healthy foods and engage in a physically active lifestyle. “We are grateful that SNAP-Ed is protected so that we can continue providing low-income Americans with the tools necessary to lead healthy lives on a limited budget,” McCollum said. “As an organization committed to reducing food insecurity and hunger, we are pleased to see that the final bill does not include drastic cuts to SNAP like those that were proposed in the original House version. However, we do recognize that some families will be affected by the reduction of benefits,” McCollum said. The final bill takes measures to enhance SNAP, including increasing access to homebound seniors or disabled participants by allowing home delivery of foods purchased with SNAP benefits; increasing stocking requirements for SNAP retailers to include more variety; and providing investments to improve access to and reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables for SNAP recipients.

One of the Academy’s top priorities is food and agriculture research, which also provides policy makers with the critical information they need to make decisions about the health of our food system. Funding for ongoing nutrition and agriculture research was maintained in the Farm Bill and new resources were allocated to food and agriculture research designed to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research activities. “As a science-based organization, we support the funding of these research programs and look forward to leveraging their outcomes to benefit the nation,” McCollum said. “The Academy will continue to pay close attention to this bill as it is implemented through regulations that support access to healthy foods, enhance nutrition agriculture research and ensure programs are efficient and effective.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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