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Chairman David Scott Opening Statement at Hearing “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Non-SNAP USDA Nutrition Programs”

WASHINGTON - House Agriculture Chairman David Scott of Georgia delivered the following statement at today's hearing “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Non-SNAP USDA Nutrition Programs”

[As prepared for delivery]

Good morning and welcome to today’s hearing, “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Non-SNAP USDA Nutrition Programs." This hearing is another in the ongoing series of hearings we are hosting to review the 2018 Farm Bill and prepare for the 2023 Farm Bill.

We will receive stakeholder input on USDA nutrition programs included in the farm bill – other than SNAP –which includes our food distribution programs: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

And our nutrition incentive and food access programs, including: The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, The Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, The Healthy Food Financing Initiative, and Community Food Projects.

So, as you can see, we have a lot of ground to cover!

These critical anti-hunger and nutrition incentive programs work together, alongside SNAP, to tackle food insecurity from different angles and provide support to millions of Americans, with each also providing positive impacts for farmers and ranchers and our broader food system.

For example, in Fiscal Year 2020, The Emergency Food Assistance Program – or TEFAP – provided 2.2 billion pounds of USDA Foods to emergency food providers, like food banks, who used that support to serve more than 60 million Americans, according to Feeding America.

The Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides over 800 thousand low-income seniors with coupons each year that they can exchange for fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey at farmers’ markets.  Our newest Member, Ms. Kaptur has been a strong proponent of this program.

And, just last week, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative announced its latest round of grants and loans to entities that will offer healthy foods in communities without access to nearby grocery stores and food retailers. These awards will support 134 projects in rural, urban, and Tribal communities in 46 States and Territories, including several in my own home state of Georgia.

In Ellenwood, Georgia – which is inside of my new Congressional District – Atlanta Harvest, an urban farm that provides food to 7 counties in the greater-Atlanta region, just received Healthy Food Financing Initiative funding to expand their market’s square footage, to increase their inventory and variety of food sold, and to purchase a hybrid delivery food truck.

And Atlanta Harvest is a great example of how our nutrition programs work in concert. Since 2018, they have partnered with Wholesome Wave Georgia, who happens to be a 2021 GusNIP grantee, to provide SNAP recipients 50 percent off fresh produce.

And that was a little bit on just some of the many fantastic programs we will discuss today.

I also have to acknowledge the incredible work that these programs and their grantees and administrators have done during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the incredible challenges faced, they responded quickly and with great flexibility to continue serving those in need during a particularly difficult time. Thank you.

I look forward to discussing these programs and reviewing their relevant provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill so we can maintain and improve upon them as necessary for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Thank you again to the Members and witnesses joining us today as well as those who have tuned in and are listening. I look forward to hearing more today about how we can improve these important programs.

With that, I’d now like to welcome the distinguished Ranking Member, the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Thompson, for any opening remarks he would like to give.

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