25% cut to our WIC FMNP program
February 5, 2012
Well you are probably getting your letters with your grant awards about now with not so great news. The appropriations bill was passed with a 25% cut to our WIC FMNP program. The initial allocation will be somewhat lower than that until we see what carryover is.
I wish I had an answer for why we are receiving such a drastic cut. I would like to say that it was due to budget constraints and everyone had similar cuts but in our area that was not the case. In the House mark of the appropriations bill we received a small but workable reduction in our funding. The Senate had the much larger cut in our funding. With all the rhetoric lately of helping farmers markets I would not have expected that kind of animosity to Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. It seems that the priorities are not what most are claiming them to be.
The reason that we know this is the administration will announce in the next few days 4 million dollars in grants to expand the use of EBT to farmers markets. It will be rolled out to states and given out in grants to companies and non profit entities to develop EBT systems for farmers markets. In most years this would be a great thing. In any year this would be great thing EXCEPT, they took this money out of the small farmers pockets. They took it from the one program that everyone has held up as the great example of how to deliver nutritious produce to nutritionally at risk children using small family farmers. They cut this deal with the Senate appropriators in back door negotiations very quietly.
We were told that farmers markets and local food systems were a priority. Well obviously it is only a priority if it goes through a few of the non-profits hands rather than directly to the people that need it and the small farmers.
The next time we shake their hands we will have to keep the eye on the other one.