(June 15) Changing the name of the food stamp program was a snap. Finding real money for expanded nutrition programs may be much harder.

With only one dissenting vote, the House Agriculture Committee’s nutrition subcommittee on June 14 approved an amendment to change the name of the food stamp program to the Secure Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SSNAP.

The full committee will consider the entire farm bill, including the nutrition title, in hearings June 26-28.

The committee included several fruit and vegetable priorities, and the June 14 markup hearing also saw several produce-related amendments.

In earlier deliberations, the subcommittee approved Section 32 mandatory funding for the Department of Defense Fresh Program. The program purchases fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to schools and service institutions.

The program’s current funding is $50 million a year. The subcommittee approved funding for $50 million for fiscal year 2008, $75 million for fiscal year 2009 and 2010.


For the USDA fresh fruit and vegetable program for schools — one of the fresh produce industry’s top priorities — the nutrition subcommittee authorized $100 million in annual contingent funding for fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2012.

Contingent funding means reduced spending or increased revenue is required before the program receives federal dollars.

The nutrition subcommittee authorized the money for 50 schools in each state and additional elementary or secondary schools in each state in proportion to student populations.