Iowa’s on the leading edge as the U.S. Department of Agriculture moves to change the attitude toward the food stamp program. U-S-D-A Undersecretary Eric Bost was in Des Moines this week to award Iowa an 882-thousand dollar grant that’ll be used to sign up more people for the program. Bost says the push is on to make sure people are taking advantage of the food the program provides. He says part of that is overcoming the image of food stamps as welfare. He it’s a nutrition program, it’s not a welfare program. He says over 50-percent of the people who benefit from the program are children, and he says a large majority of adults who receive food stamps are working. He says the program helps them move toward self-sufficiency, and puts food on the table. Bost says the move to an electronic card instead of the traditional food stamps has helped cut some of the stigma. He says another big change is in the works. A federal notice has gone out soliciting suggestions to change the name of the program, since they don’t issue food stamps anymore. During his trip, Bost visited a Des Moines farmers market where the elderly and families can use food stamps to buy fresh produce.He says he visited with the farmers, seniors and some of the clients who participate in the program. He says the program is important in several ways, as it provides fresh nutritious food to recipients, while also helping farmers. Bost also visited with state employees who administer the food stamp program.
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