WASHINGTON – On Monday, July 10th, 2023, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture, welcomed the House Democratic Task Force on Nutrition and Agriculture Members, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02) and Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), for a round table focused on nutrition in the Farm Bill.

In May 2023, Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies launched the Task Force to strategize around agriculture policy and safeguard programs aimed to address food insecurity in the United States. Under the leadership of Chairman Thompson, the Task Force is soliciting feedback on the Farm Bill from communities nationwide, including the Fifth District of Connecticut, and presenting their findings to the Democratic Caucus.

Congresswoman Hayes and her colleagues heard from nearly 90 stakeholders, industry leaders, and constituents including representatives from food banks, food pantries, faith leaders, professors, health care providers, elderly advocates, community providers, and local elected officials. Throughout the listening session, attendees stressed the importance of the nutrition title in the Farm Bill, explained the interconnectedness of hunger and the education system, spelled out the direct connection between health and access to food and nutrition insurance coverage limitations, and advocated for vulnerable communities in Connecticut.

“I am always seeking opportunities to elevate the voices of the Fifth District in Congress, which is why I was honored to welcome the House Task Force on Agriculture and Nutrition to Connecticut and hear from those on the ground who are working to combat food insecurity and fortify our food systems. Thank you to Congressman Thompson and Congressman McGovern for being part of this important conversation. Together, we will use the feedback provided to help shape our Democratic priorities for the Farm Bill. Connecticut communities rely on so many parts of this legislation, especially when it comes to nutrition programs like SNAP. Last year, 375,400 Connecticut residents, or 10% of the state population utilized the program. This is vital to our most vulnerable community member,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) “I look forward to finalizing the final report from the Task Force and continuing my work to end hunger in Connecticut and across the nation."

"The Farm Bill demonstrates our commitment to providing access to good nutrition for all Americans. It is essential that we provide robust funding to the Nutrition Title, which has been the cornerstone of the Farm Bill throughout its history, to ensure that all our communities have access to nutritious food. This work is especially difficult now, given the pandemic, and I will join other leaders to ensure that we do all we can to ensure that access for vulnerable populations is not hindered," said Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-02)

“For working families trying to put food on the table, SNAP has the power to change lives for the better,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02). “In this year’s farm bill, I’m committed to defending our most effective anti-hunger tool from baseless GOP attacks meant to take food out of the mouths of hungry Americans, and to better align the nutrition title with our National Strategy to end hunger and reduce diet-related illness by 2030. We must protect SNAP for the millions of children, seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities and other vulnerable people who depend on it. I’m grateful for Representatives Hayes and Thompson for hosting this important conversation and for being incredible partners in the fight to end hunger now.”

“The efforts of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes on the subject of food insecurity and work with the Farm Bill have been flawless.  She is truly attuned to advocating for nonprofits and the food insecure. We are blessed by her efforts on behalf of CT,” said Karen Thomas, Executive Director of Friendly Hands Food Bank.

“The roundtable discussion on the farm bill was informative and important. Congresswoman Hayes, Congressman Thompson and Congressman McGovern held an open and honest conversation regarding the impact this bill will have on black and brown communities especially those receiving SNAP benefits,” said Pastor Kristopher Reese of Grace Baptist Church, Waterbury. “I believe that you have to meet people where they are and that you need to hear the voices of those who are struggling just to live day to day.”

"Farm Bill programs continue to support the nutritional wellness of low-income Connecticut residents and the economic opportunity for agricultural producers across the state. Over the past several years, the GusNIP Grant has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to farmers' markets across the state by doubling SNAP benefits,” said Joey Listro, Executive Director of New Britain ROOTS. “In New Britain, over 52% of shoppers at the farmers' market utilize farm bill-funded programs such as GusNIP and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Without these programs, farmers would no longer find it viable to sell produce at urban markets, further reducing access to healthy food in areas where our most vulnerable populations reside."

“Conversations like this one are critical to ensuring that our Federal nutrition policies reflect the needs of all the people they serve. We’re so grateful to Representative Hayes, Representative Thompson, Representative McGovern and the House Task Force on Agriculture and Nutrition for their deliberate emphasis on community feedback throughout this process,” said Jason Jakubowski, President & CEO of Connecticut Foodshare.

In recent months, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has introduced and cosponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at expanding access to food benefits for children, veterans, low-income students and others.

  • Stop Child Hunger Act - provide families who have children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card when school is not in session.
  • Feed Hungry Veterans Act - eliminate undue barriers faced by veterans with disabilities in accessing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that cements funding for nutrition assistance, disaster aid, and determines agricultural allowances. In 2018, the Nutrition Title made up 76% of Farm Bill spending, with most of the funds being allocated to SNAP.