FoodShare programs would remain unchanged under new Farm Bill

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It's a piece of agriculture legislation, but if the $867 billion package is signed into law its impact will go beyond the family farm.

Image Source: Architect of the Capitol / Pixabay / MGN

"The federal farm bill really encompasses all of the FoodShare program at the federal level. A lot of people do think of it as just having to do with farming and subsidies, you know that area. But actually the FoodShare program, and that is the word for the program in Wisconsin," said Western Region for Economic Assistance Manager Lorie Graff.

The bill, which cleared Capital Hill this week, makes no significant work requirement changes to be a part of the program.

Earlier versions of the bill would have enforced work requirements of 20 hours a week to be eligible.

For officials in La Crosse County it has been a waiting game ever since the previous farm bill expired in September.

"When they started drafting what those work requirements would be, would they be more strict than what Wisconsin would have. And so we would actually have to comply with those federal guidelines. So I think it was just a little bit of unknown as far as that goes," said Graff.

Although for the more than 10,000 in La Crosse County in the program, the earlier proposed reforms would not have led to a big change.

Work requirements for the FoodShare program differs at the federal level and at the state level in Wisconsin.

"Currently for FoodShare in Wisconsin, if you're between the ages of 18 and 49 you're only eligible for FoodShare for three months, unless you're working 80 hours a month or participating in a training or work preparation program," said Graff.

Officials say they will be watching the next few months closely, to see if Governor-elect Tony Evers changes the work requirements to coincide with what is at the federal level.