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Letter: Throw support behind Senate's farm bill

To the editor,

By voting recently to provide the same school lunch choices for all students, whether or not their lunch account is up to date, the Grand Forks School Board not only protects every child's right to good nutrition, but also feeds the student's sense of personal dignity.

Right now our Congress is debating a similar choice as it reauthorizes the Farm Bill, which includes deciding whether to protect SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) by preserving ease of access for participants, or to undermine it, by imposing additional burdensome requirements.

In fiscal year 2017, SNAP reached 54,000 North Dakota residents or 7 percent of the state population. Bear in mind that more than 72 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children. In North Dakota, 12 percent of children lived below the poverty line in 2017. The fate of SNAP will affect their nutritional health, for good or ill.

To their credit, Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp both supported the Senate version of the farm bill, which not only preserved SNAP but added features which would improve it. In stark contrast, Rep. Kevin Cramer voted in favor of the draconian House version, which would impose punitive restrictions, very likely leading to less food available to vulnerable children.

Concerned North Dakotans should urge our senators to hold firm in their support of SNAP, and ask Rep. Cramer to abandon his support of requirements that ultimately would undermine nutritional health in our nation.

Kathleen Ness

Grand Forks