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August 2021

Thrifty Food Plan Re-evaluation Puts Nutrition in Reach for SNAP Participants

More than 42 million of our neighbors rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed their families. USDA recently re-evaluated the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), used to set SNAP benefits, which increased the purchasing power of the plan by 21% for the first time since it was introduced in 1975. As a result, on October 1, SNAP maximum benefit amounts will increase.

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Play a Key Role During Back-to-School Season

The transition between summer and fall marks another distinct season: Back-to-school. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and America’s farmers and ranchers are critical to preparing students for long school days – from pop quizzes to soccer practice. USDA is providing a back-to-school support kit to assist with menu planning as well as grants to help states develop new school meal recipes that feature local agricultural products.

Avoid Foodborne Illness During Temporary Power Outages

According to Department of Energy data, a recent analysis found that weather-related power outages are up by 67 percent since 2000. Climate change and aging infrastructure are putting a heavy burden on our power grid and the communities they serve. As temperatures rise this summer, so will the consumption of electricity. This may cause some power grids to experience blackouts, an unexpected loss of power lasting minutes, hours or days.

The Thrifty Food Plan: What It Is and Why It Matters

At the direction of Congress and with the support of President Biden as part of the administration’s Build Back Better initiative, USDA is re-evaluating the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) to ensure that it reflects the cost of a practical, nutritious, budget-conscious diet. The re-evaluation is based on four factors: the cost of food, nutrients in food, nutrition guidance, and what Americans eat. USDA plans to publish its re-evaluation soon.

You Spoke, We Listened: The Challenges of Purchasing Healthy Food with SNAP Benefits

As directed by Congress in 2018, USDA is re-evaluating the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP)—the estimated cost of an affordable, nutritious diet. The TFP is used to calculate SNAP benefit levels. To complement the re-evaluation efforts and gather insights from those who will be impacted by the result, USDA recently hosted five listening sessions with SNAP participants, researchers, advocates, and others. Here’s some of what we heard:

Keeping the Wolves at Bay

It’s often said that, “good fences make good neighbors.” And in Wisconsin, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services (WS) helped a sheep producer prove that saying true again. Using funds allocated for nonlethal livestock protection, WS designed and built a fence for the producer to keep gray wolves at bay.