MTPR

SNAP

Millions of families in the U.S. struggled to get enough food to eat last year, but conditions appear to be getting better as the economy improves.

In a new report released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that about 11 percent of households — just over 14 million — had trouble putting enough food on the table last year and that in about 4 percent of households, someone went hungry because there was not enough money to buy food.

A woman grocery shopping.
iStock

Montana is issuing February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments a couple of weeks early due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services typically issues SNAP benefits to 117,000 recipients during the first week of every month.

Farm field. File photo.
thinkreaction / iStock

Senator Steve Daines called the 2018 Farm Bill a win for Montana on a press call Wednesday morning.

"Agriculture is our number one economic driver in Montana," Daines said. "The important outcome of passing the Farm Bill is that it provides certainty for Montana farmers and Montana ranchers in difficult times."

Wednesday a joint U.S. House and Senate committee began a potentially week-long process of reconciling two versions of the Farm Bill. The current bill expires at the end of this month.

Small farm owners in the Flathead Valley worry one version could severely impact SNAP benefits in Montana.

The Senate has started debating its version of the Farm Bill, and both of Montana’s Senators, Jon Tester and Steve Daines, say their chamber’s version of the Farm Bill is good news for Montana farmers and ranchers. But they disagree on at least one important aspect of it.

First, Yellowstone Public Radio's Jackie Yamanaka reports on what they agree on.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks during an agriculture conference in Great Falls, MT, June 1, 2017.
Courtesy @SecretarySunny Twitter feed

New U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke in Great Falls Thursday. Perdue suggested reforms for a couple of big safety net programs important to farmers.

Perdue has only been on the job as ag secretary since the end of April, and part of his job is to help President Trump push forward a budget that calls for big cuts in the Department of Agriculture.