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April 23, 2019

Hearing Advisory

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Peterson Statement at Hearing to Review Nutrition and the Role of the Charitable Sector

Opening Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson
 “The Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: The World of Nutrition and the Role of the Charitable Sector”

--As Prepared for Delivery--

“Thank you Chairman Conaway and thank you for holding today’s hearing to continue the Committee’s review of SNAP.

“As I’ve said, I think it’s beneficial for the Committee to learn as much as we can about SNAP while resisting attempts to open up the farm bill or to separate SNAP from the farm bill.

“I am very supportive of the work done by local food banks and other charitable organizations across the country. They not only offer food but important outreach services to help those in need. However, they do not have the funding, capacity or flexibility to fully replace SNAP, as some might suggest.

“Hopefully today’s hearing will help the Committee get a better understanding of how charities and non-profits work with programs like SNAP. I am looking forward to any suggestions our witnesses might have about improvements we could make to ensure these programs are operating as efficiently as possible.

“One area I would be interested in exploring is making more produce available at food banks. Farmers often have a disincentive to donate due to high packing and transportation costs and, if they do have them, agencies have a tough time getting perishable products out before they go bad. Growing the partnership between food banks and farmers could help this.

“I hope this will be a productive hearing and we can continue looking past the rhetoric and learning more about this important program. I thank the Chair and look forward to hearing from our witnesses.”