Agriculture Committee Leaders Raise Concerns

DanGeneral, Industry News Release

House Agriculture Committee Leaders Raise Concerns over FNS Retailer Proposed Rule

agricultureHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and 161 members sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. In the letter, they expressed their concerns regarding the Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) recently proposed rule to modify retailer eligibility requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposal extends beyond Congressional intent laid out in the 2014 Farm Bill and contains several provisions that restrict the ability of small format retailers to participate in SNAP, in turn jeopardizing access to food for more than 45 million SNAP recipients.

“The 2014 Farm Bill reached a good balance of increasing nutritional food options for SNAP recipients, while ensuring new requirements would not limit retailer participation and reduce access in the program. We encourage both Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Concannon to reflect on this careful balance and make the necessary modifications to their proposal so SNAP recipients and the small retailers who serve them are not negatively impacted,” said Chairman Conaway.

“Large grocery stores aren’t always easily accessible, leaving many consumers relying on the groceries provided by convenience stores and other small format retailers. The proposed rule fails to take these circumstances into account. The rule would threaten smaller retailers’ ability to participate in SNAP, reducing food access to many consumers who use these retailers to make grocery purchases. I hope this issue can be addressed as the rulemaking process moves forward,” said Ranking Member Peterson.