ASSEMBLYMEMBER ELLEN JAFFEE: FOOD, FARM AND NUTRITION PROGRAMS IN STATE BUDGET

LEGISLATIVE PRESS RELEASE

(Albany) – Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D-Rockland), chair of the Assembly’s Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy announced that the Assembly successfully restored or increased funding for agriculture and nutrition programs in the recently passed budget.

Jaffee stated, “The budget passed by the legislature included a $750,000 increase for emergency food programs such as food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens. In addition, funding for home-delivered meal programs for seniors was increased by nearly $6 million.”

Funding to support marketing and research for fruit and vegetable producers will help farmers and food businesses in the Hudson Valley and beyond, Jaffee said. A new program this year will provide grants for beginning farmers in response to increased interest among young people who are eager to tap into the burgeoning local food movement.

The 2014-15 State budget also provides funding for school meals, eating disorder programs and outreach for federal food assistance programs such as SNAP (Food Stamps). State support for food assistance is crucial for low-income New Yorkers especially in light of recent cuts to SNAP by Congress. The Governor has committed to taking administrative steps designed to stave off a potential annual loss in SNAP benefits to New York households. The current SNAP caseload for Rockland County – as of March 31, 2014 is 17,106 cases including a total of 46,921 individuals.

Jaffee noted, “Programs that prevent nutrition-related problems such as diabetes and obesity, which help reduce spending on hospital and doctor visits, were level funded after several years of proposed cuts. Programs that support research and marketing programs for our state’s farmers received over $8 million in new funding for the coming year.”

Assemblymember Jaffee praised the governor for his pledge to restore about $460 million per year in SNAP benefits to eligible New Yorkers who would have lost them because of policy changes adopted by Congress in the federal Farm Bill.