Stacy Dean, who led the Biden administration's update of the Thrifty Food Plan that sharply increased SNAP benefits, is planning to step down in July as deputy undersecretary for USDA’s food, nutrition and consumer services.

President Joe Biden has twice nominated Dean to be the agency’s undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, in May 2022 and January 2023. The Senate has returned her nomination both times. She has served as the deputy undersecretary since 2021.

USDA on Friday confirmed Dean's departure. It was reportedly announced to staff in an email Wednesday, POLITICO first reported Thursday. Cindy Long, the current administrator of the department’s Food and Nutrition Service, will fill Dean's role after she leaves mid-July, a USDA spokesperson confirmed. 

"USDA is grateful to Deputy Under Secretary Dean for her leadership in advancing some of the most significant achievements in the nutrition and food security space in decades," an agency spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Agri-Pulse.

"We wish her the very best in her future endeavors, and are thankful and fortunate to have Administrator Long – who has three decades of experience serving at the Food and Nutrition Service – assuming the role and continuing the agency’s consequential work to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security for all Americans.”

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The Thrifty Food Plan, a model of food costs, is used to set SNAP benefits. The 2021 update was the first in nearly 50 years, and was designed to reflect current food prices, composition and consumption patterns. 

But the new TFP model angered Republicans, and she was never able to get Senate confirmation. 

Republican farm bill proposals in the House and Senate include provisions that would make TFP cost-neutral, which has become a major red line for Democrats. 

Nutrition advocates on the Hill celebrated Dean’s accomplishments, including her role in developing the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The initiative produced the first-ever national strategy to improve food security and address diet-related diseases. 

“For decades, Stacy Dean has led efforts to make sure people in this country have enough to eat,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who sits on the House Ag Committee, in a release. “She has been at the forefront of every major conversation about food security during my time in Congress, and I have relied on her expertise in countless fights to protect every American’s basic right to food.”

Prior to joining USDA, Dean worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as vice president for food assistance policy. 

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