The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Clarification on food stamps

Several points in a Tuesday story on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, better known as food stamps, require clarification.

The Senate-passed farm bill would cut $4.5 billion from the program over 10 years. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has said that she would agree to a larger cut to get the farm bill passed, but she does not support ending categorical eligibility for food stamps.

While the September SNAP participation rate showed an increase from 47.1 million to 47.7 million participants, that growth appears to have come from people in Louisiana and Mississippi receiving disaster benefits after Hurricane Isaac.

Participation in other states fell by 21,000 people, noted Dottie Rosenbaum of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

“We will likely will see another small spike in national participation in November because of [Hurricane] Sandy,” Rosenbaum said in an email.

“Absent disasters, however, the story seems to be that the number of people receiving SNAP is not growing in most states, or is growing much less slowly than in the last several years. In 13 states participation in September 2012 was lower than in September 2011.”

She added, “One thing that could push in the other direction in coming months is that more people will become eligible for SNAP if the temporary Unemployment Insurance extensions expire at the end of December.”