Tuesday, August 17, 2021 (Tulsa, OK) – Hunger Free Oklahoma applauds the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), USDA Secretary Vilsack, and President Biden for implementing the directives of the 2018 Farm Bill by re-evaluating the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) based on current data and economics. The update to the TFP leads to a more than 25 percent increase in benefit amounts for Oklahoma SNAP participants, a long overdue increase needed to more accurately reflect the costs incurred by low income families trying to meet their nutritional needs.
“The pandemic response programs which increased SNAP and other benefits demonstrated just how crucial SNAP is to helping our struggling neighbors access the food they need as they work to get back on their feet,” said Chris Bernard, executive director of Hunger Free Oklahoma. “The USDA’s thorough analysis brought them to the same conclusion that advocates have been saying for years; the Thrifty Food Plan did not reflect the cost of actual nutritional needs, creating a SNAP benefit that was not enough for families to afford the amount of nutritious food they need to thrive.”
Oklahoma consistently ranks as one of the worst states for food insecurity. More than one in six households in Oklahoma is food insecure, more than one in five children, and more than one in six seniors. The average SNAP benefit in Oklahoma is about $1.30 per person per meal when emergency pandemic programs are not in place. This adjustment to the TFP will raise benefits to an average of approximately $1.62 per person per meal. In a normal year, more than 500,000 Oklahomans rely on SNAP at some point to help them put food on the table. The economic benefit to local, Oklahoma communities is consistently above $1 billion per year.
Background: The 2018 Farm Bill, passed and signed during the Trump Administration, required the USDA to conduct an analysis of the Thrifty Food Plan, the basis for SNAP benefit levels, and update it considering modern conditions. Advocates and experts across the country have been calling for a re-evaluation of the plan for years, noting the plan did not reflect the cost of a healthy diet. Although it has been reviewed, there have been no significant revisions to the Thrifty Food Plan since its establishment in 1975.
Hunger Free Oklahoma works to leverage the power of collaboration to solve hunger in Oklahoma by improving systems, policies, and practices. Learn more at HungerFreeOK.org. Apply for SNAP by phone: 1 (877) 760-0114.