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Senators against USDA plan that would limit food access in rural areas

WASHINGTON, D.C.- A bipartisan group of senators including Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are joining forces to oppose a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that might limit food access in rural areas. 

The USDA plans to increase the access to healthy foods, however, in the process of doing so they would limit food access to rural communities. Compliance costs in these areas would prevent smaller shops from purchasing SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, due to the costs. Without a larger retailer in the area, residents would suffer.

Senators are hoping that the USDA will consider revising the rule to avoid the negative impacts it could have if implemented today.

“Unfortunately, the combined impact of the proposed changes will likely result in the removal of a large number of small format retailers and small businesses from SNAP. This raises questions regarding the ability of FNS, Food and Nutrition Service, to mitigate the food access challenges as Congress intended,” the letter said.

The 2014 farm bill stressed the critical need for nutrition assistance for families, as well as fighting trafficking, fraud and misuse withing the SNAP program to make sure money is saved to create pilot programs to help people secure employment through job training and other services.

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