Hunger in Nebraska - new numbers released

According to new data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service, 13.4 percent of Nebraska households struggled with hunger on average in the years 2010-2012. The data comes from the USDA’s annual report on food insecurity.Nationally, more than 48.9 million people lived in households that were food insecure in 2012 – 14.1 percent of all adults and 21.6 percent of all children lived in food insecure households.These new food insecurity numbers come as Members of Congress are preparing to return next week from their August recess. The Farm Bill remains on Congress’ agenda, and the House majority leadership – which passed earlier this summer a partial Farm Bill that did not include a nutrition title – is expected to introduce a bill that would strip $40 billion in funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), throwing many Nebraskans out of the program.“Given the level of food insecurity that continues to persist in Nebraska and across the country, now is not the time for Congress to consider further cuts to the SNAP program,” said James Goddard, Economic Justice Director at Nebraska Appleseed. “SNAP helps thousands of working Nebraskans who earn low incomes put food on the table. Far too many people in our state continue to struggle with hunger, and we urge our members of Congress to protect SNAP.”Among the 13.4 percent of households in Nebraska considered to be food insecure during the 2010-2012 period, 5 percent were households with “very low food security.” Households that fall into this USDA category had more severe problems, experiencing deeper hunger and cutting back or skipping meals on a more frequent basis for both adults and children.About the USDA Report:Since 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture, using data from surveys conducted annually by the Census Bureau, has released national and state estimates of the number of people in households that are food insecure. Food insecure households are those that are not able to afford an adequate diet at all times in the past 12 months. For states, USDA uses three-year averages to give a better estimate (with a smaller margin of error) of the number of households experiencing food insecurity. Experts agree that the Census/USDA measure of food insecurity is a conservative one, with the result that only households experiencing substantial food insecurity are so classified.