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

Tony Malo reviews "Beyond Thought," one of his students' films in his classroom on May 21. His class has just finished their end-of-the-year projects.

Gainesville High Teacher Cultivates Student Creativity

Gainesville High School teacher Tony Malo uses unique teaching and disciplinary methods to prepare students for the workforce and empower them to be self-motivated while learning to collaborate in groups. He believes his experiential learning methods are more effective than teaching for standardized tests.


The computers in the media center at A.L. Mebane Middle School in Alachua are being equipped with the Fast ForWord learning program. The computer-based program is a part of Superintendent Owen Roberts' language development initiative.

Dollar General Awards Three Local Schools $135,000 For Fast ForWord

On Wednesday, Alachua Elementary School, W.W. Irby Elementary School and A.L. Mebane Middle School were awarded $135,000 by Dollar General to fund Fast ForWord, a program designed to improve language and reading competency in students. This is part of a five-year language development initiative to implement the program in all elementary schools in Alachua County.


CFX8zb6WAAAbh3T

Alachua County Schools Receive $1.2 Million

Gov. Rick Scott awarded a $1,277,312 check to 20 Alachua County schools Tuesday at Stephen Foster Elementary School. The money is part of the Florida School Recognition Program which is giving $124 million to schools statewide.


A file photograph showing textbooks and empty student desks inside an Atlanta, Georgia school.

Community Leaders Sign Education Compact

Community, business, government and education leaders signed a compact aiming to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for students in Alachua County through collaborative efforts. The compact was signed on Monday by 21 people.


Debbie Powell consoles her grandchildren in wake of the decision.

Alachua County School Board Passes Rezoning Plan That Will Dissolve Waldo Community School

The Alachua County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to consolidate Waldo Community School with Shell Elementary School. The decision marks the end of a hard fought battle for Waldo to keep its school.


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