WUFT News

Farm Bill cuts may affect Florida SNAP Education

By on January 9th, 2014

Children receiving nutrition education in schools across Florida may have to start looking for help elsewhere as Congress threatens cutting the Farm Bill.

Programs like Florida’s SNAP-Ed — or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education — are part of the Farm Bill and funded through the United States Department of Agriculture. SNAP-Ed provides nutrition education for families and children who receive governmental assistance with food purchases as part of the SNAP program, formerly known as Food Stamps.

“SNAP Education is directly tied to the Farm Bill, so if the farm bill is cut, then the SNAP-Ed benefits will be cut as well, which means the program throughout the state of Florida will be cut,” said Karla Shelnutt, principal investigator for Florida’s SNAP-Ed Program.

Shelnutt said 30 Florida counties have SNAP-Ed in place. The education services provided through the program are done within the schools, with the majority delivered to kindergarten through second grade.

“We have program assistants who provide the education,” Shelnutt said. “We teach them all about My Plate, healthy eating, being physically active and we’re actually working with the Florida farm to school program where we’re teaching about local foods as well.”

That may change if the Farm Bill does not pass or the program gets cut from the Bill.

“There’s a real need to help people with food in rural areas,” said Muriel Turner, consumer sciences agent with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences. “So many people need assistance, and younger families get hit hardest when cuts happen.”

In 2010, the SNAP-Ed program was cut by 80 percent but later received funding through different programs such as the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. At that time, Shelnutt and those working with SNAP-Ed saw their budget go from $15-million to $3-million, including layoffs of one hundred people. The education program shut down in several of Florida’s counties to meet the new budget requirements.

“We had started developing relationships with schools in those counties and committing providing education,” Shelnutt said, “and then we had to let them go overnight.”

Until a decision on the Farm Bill is made, Shelnutt cannot determine the future of the SNAP-Ed program.

“Ultimately, it will be up to the Farm Bill, and what they pass in the Farm Bill,” Shelnutt said. “When that is passed, we’ll have a much better idea of what they’ll do with the farm funding, and then we’ll know.”

Perri Konecky edited this online.


This entry was posted in Education, Florida, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Back To School Tax Holiday Extended

This year’s sales tax holiday, which begins on Friday, has been extended to 10-days. Eligible items include clothing priced under $100, school supplies $15 or less per item and personal computers on the first $750 of sale prices.


Santa Fe Starts Physical Therapy Assistant Program

Santa Fe College will start the first physical therapist assistant program in Gainesville in fall 2016. The degree is a year-and-a-half long program and will accept 24 students each fall.


Physics Bus Gainesville has hosted events around the area to connect people with science. “It supports our mission to make science accessible to everyone and to bridge the gap,” said Medina.

Physics Bus Rolls Into Gainesville To Spark Creativity and Science

Physics Bus Gainesville is a new non-profit organization rolling into Gainesville this spring. It uses air dryers, microwaves and old projector TVs to raise the publics interest in science.


Hernando County Proposes School Rezoning Plans

Hernando County public schools may be rezoned for the 2016-2017 school year. Plans to rezone several schools in the county came about due to overcrowding in some schools.


Judy Beverly's summer migrant students perform "The Three Little Pigs" at Alachua Elementary on June 25. The play marked the end of the three-week camp.

Summer Programs Keep Migrant Children Learning

Counties around north central Florida are keeping migrant children learning throughout the summer. The programs are put into place to reduce disruptions migrant children face in their education due to frequent moves.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments