Permanent funding for SNAP incentives established under new law
Future federal funding for healthy produce incentives, such as the Double Up Food Bucks program in Iowa, is guaranteed under the new farm bill. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 was met with bipartisan support from both the House of Representatives and Senate before being signed into law Thursday by President Donald Trump.
The legislation establishes permanent funding for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GUS), which increases the value of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) benefits when used to purchase fruits and vegetables. Double Up Food Bucks – which offers a 1:1 match, up to $10 per day – provides fresh produce to low-income Iowans while supporting local farmers.
MORE: Find a Double Up Food Bucks location near you
“Amerigroup is focused on improving the health of the communities we serve,” said Jeff Jones, president of Amerigroup Iowa. “Proper nutrition and food security are essential elements of good health, and that’s why we’re happy to support Double Up Food Bucks and celebrate this win for the program and for the Iowans who rely on it.”
Double Up Food Bucks is available at three New Pioneer Food Co-op locations in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Coralville.
Under the new five-year farm bill, GUS is guaranteed a minimum of $56 million per year past 2023. If a future farm bill were to expire, funding would continue until new legislation is passed. GUS was previously known as Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program under the 2014 farm bill.
Double Up Food Bucks currently receives federal SNAP incentive funding. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a three-year grant, totaling $480,044, to the Healthiest State Initiative to expand the program in Iowa.
MORE: How Double Up Food Bucks works in Iowa
The grant is matched with private funds bringing total project support to nearly $1 million. Double Up Food Bucks is funded through statewide financial contributions from Amerigroup, Wells Fargo, Alliant Energy, and ITC Group, as well as the regional support of local partners.
“The support for Double Up Food Bucks in Iowa has been outstanding,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “The funding guaranteed in this bill ensures we’ll be able to continue promoting increased fruit and vegetable consumption among SNAP recipients in our state for years to come.”
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Double Up Food Bucks began in six Iowa farmers markets in 2016 and is now active at 14 sites including grocery stores, farmers markets, farm stands, and mobile markets across the state. In 2018, nearly $50,000 of fresh produce has been taken home by Double Up Food Bucks shoppers.
To learn more about Double Up Food Bucks in Iowa or to apply to the program at your farmers market or grocery store, visit www.IowaHealthiestState.com/DUFB.