The Farm Bill includes an amendment to repeal the Renewable Fuels Standard and a provision to limit SNAP

NACS, May 24, 3013  • Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013

WASHINGTON – What does the Farm Bill have to do with convenience stores? Plenty, if the added provisions and amendments are any indication. Congress failed to pass a Farm Bill in 2012, the year it was up for renewal, but the House and Senate are pushing to complete it this year

This week, Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) filed an amendment to the farm bill that would entirely repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Prospects for enactment of such a proposal are slim; NACS is focusing on efforts to reform the program to better reflect market conditions.

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee approved a version​ of the Farm Bill earlier this month, with a provision that would give the federal government the power to stop convenience stores from accepting SNAP benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps. Close to 150,000 convenience stores participate in SNAP.

The addition would prohibit any retailer from accepting SNAP benefits if 45% or more of inside sales came from alcohol, tobacco or hot prepared food — virtually every convenience store falls under that description.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) offered an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have allowed states to enact laws requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods; it was defeated by a vote of 27 to 71.

Greenwire reports that a growing number of states are considering either legislation or ballot measures that would “compel food companies to label whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.” Such legislation has been passed in the Vermont House. Sanders said that labeling is not a radical concept: “The requirement of labeling genetically modified food exists in dozens and dozens of countries throughout the world.”

For more information regarding the SNAP provisions, contact NACS Director of Government Relations Corey Fitze and read more about the potential impact of the Farm Bill in the June issue of NACS Magazine.