House Passes Farm Bill with Congressman Dan Kildee’s Legislation Expanding Local Food Assistance Incentive Programs
Bill Now Advances to Senate and Would Provide $100 Million in Funding for Food Incentive Programs That Would Spur Local Economy, Support Michigan Farmers
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today applauded the bipartisan passage of a Farm Bill that included his legislation to promote healthy and locally-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets across Michigan. The legislation, initially introduced by Congressman Kildee last September, provides $100 million over five years for food incentive programs like Michigan’s successful Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) Program, a public-private partnership to give state residents on food assistance more purchasing power when buying fresh fruits and produce at participating local farmers’ markets across the state.
Congressman Kildee voted ‘yea’ on the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, along with 88 other Democrats and 162 Republicans.
“I am pleased to see the House take action on a Farm Bill that protects Michigan’s family farmers, preserves the sugar program, and protects our most vulnerable citizens from direct benefit cuts to food assistance. This five-year bill represents a bipartisan compromise that provides certainty to Michigan’s second-largest industry and helps support hundreds of thousands of jobs in our state,” Congressman Kildee said. “I am also happy to see that my legislation, the Local Food for Healthy Families Act, is also included in this comprehensive bill. Expanding food incentive programs such as Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks Program will help to pump millions of dollars into the local economy and also give more purchasing power to residents on food assistance to purchase healthy and locally-grown fruits and vegetables. It will also help to aid our state’s family farmers, who every year sell their produce at local markets all across the state. I am proud to have worked alongside Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and commend her leadership on passing this Farm Bill which is especially important for so many Michigan families and farmers. I look forward to the Senate swiftly passing this bill and seeing it signed into law.”
“Congressman Dan Kildee has been a great partner for me as we work to create a Farm Bill that protects nutrition assistance for Michigan families who need temporary support and expands our support for farmers markets and other local food initiatives,” said Senator Stabenow. “Expanding programs like Double Up Food Bucks helps ensure families have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and supports family farmers in Michigan. Dan has been with me every step of the way as we work to create jobs in Michigan’s agriculture economy. His work was vital to getting the Farm Bill passed in the House.”
Surrounded by Michigan family farmers last summer, Congressman Kildee introduced his second bill in Congress, the Local Food for Healthy Families Act, at the Downtown Saginaw Farmers’ Market. The legislation – the text of which was included in the Farm Bill passed by the House today – expands funding for programs like Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) Program, a food incentive program that gives state residents on food assistance more purchasing power to buy healthy, locally-grown produce.
Programs like DUFB are not mandatory, but rather a way for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to maximize their purchasing power when shopping for food. For those who receive SNAP benefits and shop at participating farmers’ markets, the amount of money spent is matched up to a certain dollar amount with “food bucks” tokens that can be used to buy fresh, Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.
In 2012 alone, SNAP recipients made 89,428 visits to participating markets, totaling $1.5 million in SNAP redemptions. Additionally, 75 percent of the farmers that sold their products in markets with SNAP incentive programs report they earn more money because of the program. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 1.9 million people in Michigan who receive SNAP benefits.
The DUFB program, a public-private partnership, includes 75 farmers’ markets statewide, including in Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Grand Blanc, East Tawas and Oscoda. A full list of participating farmers’ markets in Michigan can be viewed at http://www.doubleupfoodbucks.org/.