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Tuberville bill to expand food options in senior program draws growing bipartisan support

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Tommy Tuberville is the voice of Alabama farmers in Washington.

Last fall, Mr. Tuberville (R-Auburn) joined Sen. Ben Ray Luján. (DN.M.). pecan Other tree nuts covered by USDA's Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Tuberville said the bill has growing bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

“What I introduced was “The Farmers Market Expansion Act addresses the issues we've heard from producers and provides additional nutritious options at no additional cost to SFMNP-eligible seniors,” he said. “My bill would open up new markets for tree nuts, increase demand for them, and put more revenue in the pockets of growers to cover their costs and keep production going.

“This legislation will allow you to purchase common tree nuts using SFMNP coupons at farmers markets, farm stands, and community-supported agriculture boxes, all of which are eligible venues for the program.”

The bipartisan ties between Alabama and New Mexico continued in the House of Representatives as Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Rep. Gabe Vesquez (D.M.) introduced companion legislation.

“Adding tree nuts, especially shelled pecans, to senior farmers market nutrition programs will benefit Alabama producers and seniors,” Moore said. “Pecans are an important part of Alabama’s agriculture industry, and we expect this legislation to create a competitive market for tree nut producers.”

In Alabama, pecan growers harvested about 3 million pounds from 9,000 acres of pecan cultivation in 2022.

SFMNP provides fresh, nutritious, locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey to eligible low-income seniors. These seniors must be 60 years of age or older and have a household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. Eligible seniors can redeem coupons for program products at the following locations: farmers' marketroadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.

According to the USDA, 757,751 seniors participated in SFMNP in fiscal year 2022 and 15,089 seniors participated. farmers Through the program, we sold products across the country. Annual program benefits vary by state between $20 and $50 per year, with more than 54,000 eligible seniors in Alabama.

Austin Shipley is a staff writer at Yellowhammer News.

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