The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program received a lot of support at a farm bill listening session held in Modesto, Calif., Saturday, as hunger advocates and academics from the state’s Central Valley urged House lawmakers to protect and even expand the program to benefit families, food banks, farmers markets and California fruit and vegetable growers.
Five House lawmakers, including House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, heard from dozens of witnesses representing the diverse agricultural economy of California. “I don’t know if there’s anything you don’t grow out here.” Conaway said at the start of the session.
California Republicans Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Doug LaMalfa also attended the session, along with Democrat Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania. All but Valadao are also members of the Ag Committee. Another listening session is scheduled for the end of the month in Illinois, and on Thursday of this week Democratic Rep. Jimmy Panetta will host a session in Salinas with Democrats Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the committee’s ranking member, and Representative Jim Costa, also of California.