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Age composition of SNAP recipients changes

In 2016, 44.1 percent of the 43.5 million Americans participating in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were children (age 17 and younger), 44.1 percent were working-age adults (age 18-59) and 11.8 percent were elderly. Eligibility for SNAP benefits is based on income and asset limits, subject to certain immigration status and work requirements.

Lawmakers Join Forces in Bipartisan Attempt to End USDA Kitten Testing

Kittens and cupcakes in the Rayburn building caused a buzz Thursday among staffers and interns, but the reason for their presence was anything but a cute ball of fluff. For the past 50 years, the Department of Agriculture has been forcing 100 kittens each year to eat toxoplasma-infected raw meat to test their stool, according to Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Bishop. The parasite causes toxoplasmosis and is found only in cat feces, putting the brunt of these experiments on kittens.

The last thing America's dairy farmers need is a trade war with Mexico

esides providing healthy and affordable food, dairy farmers are the backbone of a substantial contributor to the U.S. economy. America’s dairy products industry creates an economic ripple effect that is responsible for $24.9 billion in state and local business tax revenues and $39.5 billion in federal business tax revenues. It supports nearly three million workers, generates more than $39 billion in direct wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion. But this year, June has our dairy farmers more than a little on edge.

Farm Bill: South vs. Midwest

The U.S. Senate is set to vote next week on its version of the Farm Bill. The legislation is pitting Midwestern lawmakers against Southern lawmakers over two competing subsidy programs that both say are essential to farmers in their regions.  The debate over the Farm Bill is always contentious. It usually pits Democrats against Republicans. But this issue has lawmakers from different regions battling each other. In the South, crops like rice and peanuts need a lot of water and fertilizer. Yields are comparatively steady but subject to steep fluctuations in world markets.

U.S. Supreme Court ties, allowing landmark culvert order to stand in Washington

The U.S. Supreme Court today split 4-4 and will let stand a lower-court order requiring Washington to remove hundreds of culverts to protect tribal fishing rights, an order that farm groups warn will bolster legal challenges to dams and irrigation systems. The tie, made possible by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s recusal, is a victory for 21 Western Washington tribes that had previously prevailed in U.S. District Court and the 9th U.S.

Trade war breaks out: Will it reach chicken and turkey?

Something that nobody wanted has started – a trade war. At least nobody on the south side of the Rio Grande wanted it, because on the other side it seems that it was wanted. In response to tariffs on steel and aluminum, the Mexican government has decided to impose several tariffs on various American farm products.  For many, that was a lukewarm response, or even timid, very timid, since Mexico "punished" the U.S. with tariffs on cranberries (how many cranberries do Mexicans eat?) and bourbon (maybe we do consume more this, but I doubt it is consumed more than tequila).

Farm bill targets food stamps — but not the well-off farmers who have been on the dole for decades

As more than a million Americans face losing food stamps under President Trump’s vision for reauthorizing the farm bill, his vow to wean families off dependence doesn’t apply to thousands of others who have been relying much of their adult lives on payments from the government’s sprawling agriculture program.And many of those farmers have been getting aid for far longer than the average 10 months that a food stamp recipient gets help. In fact, 27,930 farmers have been collecting for 32 years, a report shows.

Trump seeks to reorganize the federal government

The Trump administration is preparing to release a sweeping plan for reorganizing the federal government that includes a major consolidation of welfare programs — and a renaming of the Health and Human Services Department. The report, set to be released in the coming weeks by the White House Office of Management and Budget, seeks to move safety-net programs, including food stamps, into HHS.  The plan would also propose changing the name of the sprawling department, while separately seeking cuts at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department.

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