Monday, August 25, 2008

The New and Improved 2008 Farm Bill

On Friday, August 22, the USDA released a comprehensive comparison of the 2008 Farm Bill and previous farm bill legislation. The report highlights many changes that received little public attention during the extended debate surrounding the omnibus legislation. For example, the 2008 Farm Bill allows states to establish methods whereby food stamp applicants can sign their application by over the phone, potentially cutting down on long lines at benefits offices. The 2008 Farm Bill also includes provisions to protect food stamp applicants from discrimination based on age, rehabilitation status or disability. In addition to measures designed to help low-income Americans gain access to benefits, the 2008 Bill also authorizes $15 million a year in matching grants to improve food bank infrastructure, which would include funds to purchase more locally-sourced food. For a complete listing of legislative changes in the 2008 Farm Bill, please visit The Farm Bill Side-by-Side.

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