Food stamps, Farm Bill and women in ag

Jun 6, 2013

April Segura, of Lincoln, Neb., uses her SNAP benefits to shop at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market with her sons Jalen, 5, and Jeriel, 1.
April Segura, of Lincoln, Neb., uses her SNAP benefits to shop at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market with her sons Jalen, 5, and Jeriel, 1.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On this week's Business Beat: 47 million Americans are enrolled in the SNAP program, or food stamps, including nearly 16 percent of Missourians.  SNAP is the biggest spending item in the farm bill. And the program has a big bulls eye on it as Congress debates new legislation. As Grant Gerlock reports for Harvest Public Media, the economic considerations go beyond who receives SNAP benefits to how and where the money is spent.

Then, over the past three decades, the number of U.S. farms operated by women has nearly tripled. Some of that increase comes from women taking a more prominent role in ag business, but a good chunk of it also stems from the US Department of Agriculture asking more specific questions in its Census of Agriculture every five years. The USDA’s Economic Research Service released the most recent analysis recently.I talked with USDA agricultural economist Bob Hoppe about the data.