Rep. Brad Finstad, who is leading the House Agriculture subcommittee responsible for overseeing the farm bill's nutrition assistance programs, says lawmakers must ensure they offer "people a hand up, not just a handout." 

Speaking on this week’s Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, the new chairman of the House Ag Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture and Horticulture said the committee also needs to review the process by which states get waivers from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work requirements. 

"That's the conversation really that we need to have," said Finstad, R-Minn.

He also said he wants to ensure the bill is “by the farmers for the farmers, and by rural America for rural America, not by Washington for Washington.” 

Finstad reiterated the need to educate members of Congress about the farm bill. Developing a baseline understanding of the broad reach  of the legislation, particularly the impact of the nutrition title, is critical to finding bipartisan support to reach the necessary 218 House votes. 

Finstad said the committee will have to “pick up the pace" now that the membership roster has been finalized.  

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“We know the team, so we’ve got to start running the plays,” he said. 

Finstad also discussed the EPA's decision to allow year-round E15 sales beginning in the summer of 2024. He says it is “nice to see,” but he remains disappointed that there will still need to be requests for an emergency waiver this summer. 

Gina Plata-Nino with the Food Research and Action Center and Robert Rector from the Center for Health and Welfare Policy at the Heritage Foundation also joined the show to discuss SNAP program adjustments and the potential implications of splitting farm and food programs into separate pieces of legislation. 

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