Farm Bill cuts food stamps

By: Hannah Paczkowski

President Obama is set to sign the Farm Bill, Friday. One thing that was people's attention is an $8.5 billion cut to food stamps over the next ten years.

The government said for a lot of people, that will mean about $90 less a month starting in March.

Mohammad Onakoy gets a little over $500 a month to feed his family of five.

“I got a letter saying it will be cut again to $430,” he said.

This is an additional decrease to the one in November, but the amount taken away then was from a temporary increase to help people through the recession.

“For these people it comes directly out of their quality of life because they don't really have any income pool to dip into when they have a cut like this,” communications coordinator for the Center for People in Need, Sam Huppert, said.

The reason for the cut is to help provide a bigger financial cushion for farmers during unpredictable weather and market conditions.

For instance, some farmers are struggling to recover from the 2012 drought and unable to produce cattle. Now, beef prices are on the rise.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fresh beef prices rose 26% over the past five years and is continuing to increase.

The USDA estimates those prices will climb between 2.5% and 3.5% this year, making it harder for people needing assistance, like Mohammad, to afford food for their families.

“The food here in Lincoln which I find that it's very expensive and sometimes $500–something it barely gets me to the end of the month,” Mohammad said.